Sunday, September 17, 2006

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

I recently read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. Ian bought it for me last Christmas, but because it was about 9/11, I decided waited until the September book group to read it. Foer has a fresh unorthodox approach to his writing. His first book, Everything is Illuminated, was widely touted and ended up being optioned as a movie. International Movie Database rates it as a 7.7 out of 10. And the book I just read has also been optioned as a movie, which that tells me that I’m not the only one who liked it.

The main character is Oskar Schell, an inventor, Francophile, tambourine player, Shakespearean actor, jeweler, and pacifist. He is nine years old, and on a mission to find the lock that fits a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Oskar, a bright, delightful, precocious, funny and innocent boy, goes from Central Park to Coney Island to Harlem in his search. The only clue he finds with the key is the word "black," which he determines is a surname, and he endeavors to meet every one of them listed in the phonebook. As he roams New York, he encounters a motley assortment of people who are all survivors in their own equally interesting ways. At the same time Oskar is trying to come to terms with the loss of his father, he is trying to protect his mother and a secret. I loved the book, but more than the writing, it personalized the loss of one family, which represents one of the many whose lives were turned upside down in a single day. A warning - from the reviews I read, I can see that this is a book that you will either love or hate, like Annie Proulx's The Shipping News.


Beryl Moody said...

I just finished listening to the Recorded Books version of this book with three different narrators -- and I recommend it. I tend to listen to my fiction and I'll be looking for "Everything is Illuminated" by the same author, since I thought the movie was great. Shipping News was pretty darn good too:-)

Sharon said...

And his wife Nicole Krause wrote the equally successful and compelling novel, The History of Love. That's a lot of creativity in one household.