Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

genre: adult fiction

What does Oskar want to invent? Something that can keep people safe. Something that his dad could have used and maybe he wouldn't have died on September 11th. A nine year old, both wiser and more innocent than most, digs into our deepest fears and longings as he searches for meaning in a life cut short.

Oskar is in intricate, quirky character. His curiosity and his need for a more-than-one-word answer rang true with other nine year olds that I know - although he was a bit over the top on occasions, almost TOO wise. When he finds a key among his father's things, he begins searching New York City, sure that whatever it opens will shed some light on the man he misses most. Oskar's not the only character, though, whose viewpoint we read. His grandparents, their horrible and defining experiences, their complicated history, is spewed to us in spits and starts and sometimes was hard for me to sort through. I felt like it was so either so brilliant (or so convoluted) that I was missing things, like I was swimming through Jello and trying to see through it, but then all of a sudden I'd read something really insightful and be okay again.

I think my thoughts of this book boil down to this: loss changes us. It changes us all in different ways but it surely changes us and even if we can find our way to a new kind of happiness, we are never the same.

Sometimes funny, sometimes crude - intense and deeply felt, I don't think I'll be forgetting this one any time soon.


bermudaonion said...

This sounds like a powerful, thought-provoking book. I wonder if I'm smart enough for it.

Melissa said...

Insightful, Corinne. Which is why I like discussing books with you. :-D

Cami said...

Good assessment. It's a lot of what I felt while reading it too.

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