this book is one of the first novels dealing with the 9/11 attacks. oskar schell is a precocious 9 year old boy whose father died when the second tower fell. since then, he’s been ‘wearing heavy boots’ because of many factors: the messages his father left in the voicemail that only he has retrieved, his mother dating another guy, oskar’s naturally curious and inventive nature, and just a son’s loss basically.
he finds a key inside an envelope with his father’s handwritting on it. from then on, his main goal is to find what the small key opens. his father has written “Black” on the envelope, and he begins paying a visit to ALL the Black-surnamed people in New York.
along his quest, he makes new friendships, and gets to know his grandmother and grandfather more.
extremely loud and incredibly close is a one-of-a kind novel. it is almost multi-media as it has accompanying photographs, scribbles, scratches, and even a flip book type animation of a man falling from one of the towers. it brings forth an intro to modern storytelling, not just in prose but delivery and presentation.
oskar is your typical school genius who gets picked on and his narration of his grief and hatred with the events that happened on the 11th of september is creative, innocent, admirable, charming, and sad.
i’ve totally fallen in love with this book–it is a story of a boy’s quest, and a story of sons and fathers.
how very apt for me to have read it on fathers’ day.
i’ll be looking forward to getting my hands on Foer’s other novel, ‘Everything is Illuminated’. need to read it before the movie comes out.
author jonathan safran foer, born 1977 is married to novelist nicole krauss.