Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer.
I absolutely hated Foer's novel Everything is Illuminated - I found the writing style so obnoxious, I don't even think I finished the book. But, then I picked up his non-fiction book Eating Animals and was very impressed by his ideas. So, after much prompting by other reader friends who just love this man, I decided to pick this one up. And, I'm glad that I did. EL&IC is "simply delightful" - to use a phrase that I normally hate. Part of my affinity for this novel certainly stems from the fact that it utlizes a child narrator - when done correctly, one of my favorite ways for telling a story. Nine-year-old Oskar has recently lost his father in the World Trade Center 9/11 attack. After finding a hidden key in his father's closet, he is determined to follow the clues he is certain were left by his departer dad to discover the lock into which the key fits. Oskar's journey takes him all over the five burroughs of New York, introducing him to interesting people along the way. Interspersed with Oskar's story, is the story of his grandparents, and how they met and fell in love. While interesting, I didn't appreciate this part of the book as much I did the parts where Oskar took over and shared his precocious yet still childlike observations about relationships and parenting and the strange and ever-changing world around us.