Unafraid to show his traumatized characters' constant groping for emotional catharsis, Foer demonstrates once again that he is one of the few contemporary writers willing to risk sentimentalism in order to address great questions of truth, love and beauty.
Jonathan Safran Foer emerged as one of the most original writers of his
generation with his best-selling debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated. Now,
with humor, tenderness, and awe, he confronts the traumas of our recent history.
What he discovers is solace in that most human quality, imagination.
Meet Oskar Schell, an inventor, Francophile, tambourine player, Shakespearean actor, jeweler, pacifist, correspondent with Stephen Hawking and Ringo Starr. He is nine years old. And he is on an urgent, secret search through the five boroughs of New York. His mission is to find the lock that fits a mysterious key belonging to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11.
An inspired innocent, Oskar is alternately endearing, exasperating, and hilarious as he careens from Central Park to Coney Island to Harlem on his search. Along the way he is always dreaming up inventions to keep those he loves safe from harm. What about a birdseed shirt to let you fly away? What if you could actually hear everyone's heartbeat? His goal is hopeful, but the past speaks a loud warning in stories of those who've lost loved ones before.
As Oskar roams New York, he encounters a motley assortment of humanity who are all survivors in their own way. He befriends a 103-year-old war reporter, a tour guide who never leaves the Empire State Building, and lovers enraptured or scorned. Ultimately, Oskar ends his journey where it began, at his father's grave. But now he is accompanied by the silent stranger who has been renting the spare room of his grandmother's apartment. They are there to dig up his father's empty coffin.
What about a teakettle? What if the
spout opened and closed when the
steam came out, so it would become a
mouth, and it could whistle pretty
melodies, or do Shakespeare, or just
crack up with me? I could invent a
teakettle that reads in Dad's voice, so
I could fall asleep, or maybe a set of
kettles that sings the chorus of "Yellow
Submarine," which is a song by the
Beatles, who I love, because entomology
is one of my raisons d'être, which
is a French expression that I know.
Another good thing is that I could train
my anus to talk when I farted. If I
wanted to be extremely hilarious, I'd
to say, "Wasn't me!" every time I made an incredibly bad fart. And if I ever
made an incredibly bad fart in the Hall of Mirrors, which is in Versailles,
which is outside of Paris, which is in France, obviously, my anus would say, "Ce n'étais pas moi!"
What about little microphones? What if everyone swallowed them, ...
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is both brilliant and compelling. I love it when a book can stop me in my tracks by offering a style of writing quite different to the norm. Take your time over this one, because it's shorter than it looks.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Jonathan Safran Foer is the author of the
bestseller Everything is Illuminated (2002), which was published when he was 25 years old and won multiple awards, and
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
(2005). He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
A movie of Everything Is Illuminated was planned for release in 2005 but appears to be still 'in production' with an estimated release date of 2007.
When Foer was 8 years old a failed science experiment caused an explosion that ripped through the classroom searing his hands and...
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