Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Published Mariner Books 2006
Format: Kindle ebook
Other books by this author: Everything is Illuminated
Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is an inventor, amateur entomologist, Francophile, letter writer, pacifist, natural historian, percussionist, romantic, Great Explorer, jeweller, detective, vegan, and collector of butterflies. When his father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre, Oskar sets out to solve the mystery of a key he discovers in his father’s closet. It is a search which leads him into the lives of strangers, through the five boroughs of New York, into history, to the bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima, and on an inward journey which brings him ever closer to some kind of peace.
This book has some serious hype about it for obvious reasons. The movie was such a big deal when it came out, so was the book, but I have never gotten around to reading this book until now. And I am so glad I did read it.
This story is so incredibly touching. I love the way Oskar narrates this book. Anyone else could not have told the same story so beautifully or realistically. His voice is so strong and lovable. Oskar has the young, questionable, curious mind that only a nine year old can have. The way he processes the disaster of 9/11 and the death of his father is so interesting. It’s such a unique point of view. This book could have gone so many different ways, but he lead the reader on an incredible journey.
The book doesn’t focus a lot on 9/11, more on the aftermath and recovery process. Oskar is kept from the majority of information about it. However, every so often, especially at the very end, something will be said that just makes you cry. It’s told in such a flat out way with little touches of something really beautiful. I think that’s the best kind of meaningful story. It shouldn’t be hidden behind metaphors, it should just be.
There was only one thing I didn’t like and that was the chapters not narrated by Oskar. I have no idea who they were narrated by, but that part of the story confused me. It’s relationship to Oskar was somewhat explained, but not well enough that I understood it. It was interesting, but it took me out of Oskar’s story. I really liked reading about his adventures in New York to find the Blacks and whom the key belonged to. That was the part of the story I really enjoyed.
Overall, this book is so touching, especially thanks to Oskar’s voice and the overall story line of finding the key. It’s messages were strong and really beautiful. There were just a couple of things that didn’t make sense and took me out of the story.