Jonathan Safran Foer doesn’t write beach-friendly books. His debut novel, “Everything is Illuminated,” examined the Holocaust, family and tradition while spinning three separate stories through the main character’s broken English. His latest, the nonfiction “Eating Animals,” is no less ambitious, taking on factory farming and our bizarre, complex relationship as a culture with food and animals.

And yet, he wants his readers to avoid thinking too hard.

“The meat industry is perfectly happy to have us asking big questions, but philosophical purity
doesn’t get us anywhere,” says Foer, a longtime nugget-questioner whose impending fatherhood prompted him to sort out his feelings on, well, eating animals.


“Everyone agrees on some things — you just don’t find people who think animal cruelty is OK.”

And even though his book makes a crystal-clear, elegant argument against meat as we know it, Foer isn’t pretending to have all the answers. “I don’t quite know what I think, at the end of the day, about humane farms,” he admits. “Is it just fundamentally wrong to raise animals for food? I don’t really know, but I know that it’s wrong the way we do it.”

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