Wednesday, August 23, 2017

#BookReview - Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Title:  Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Author:  Jonathan Safran Foer
Genre:  Humor, Literary Fiction
Release Date:  September 3, 2013

About the Book:

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.
Buy Links: Amazon 
My Review:

I had a long drive ahead of me, a drive that took me through the "eclipse" area.  Matching the number of hours I had to drive to one of the Audible recordings I had, I decided to choose this one.  EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE has been around for awhile, but I had not had a chance to read it.  I will tell you right now... I had a very enjoyable trip, sometimes chuckling and laughing out loud and sometimes wiping the tears from my eyes as I listened.  The time sped away.  The narration was extremely good and incredibly fun.

The story takes you back and forth from 1945 Dresden, Germany to 2003 New York City.  The historical descriptions of the bombings during WWII ate away at my heart.  Yet the antics of young Oskar made me smile.

Oskar and his father had a warm and close relationship.  Oskar's life was turned upside down when his father's life was cut short on 9/11.  The events of that day left Oskar devastated, hiding certain facts from his mother, and making Oskar desperate to reconnect with his father in some way.  After finding a key hidden in a blue vase, Oskar goes through extremes seeking the lock that fits this key.  During his search, he meets a variety of characters including the man who is renting the spare room in his grandmother's apartment.

Oskar is a bright, intelligent, creative young boy who reminds me a bit of a young Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory.  He writes letters.  A lot of letters.  He writes to people like Stephen Hawking and Jane Goodall, asking to be their protege.  

I can see where this would get mixed reviews, but I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed listening to this unique novel.  Not the typical story line.  This one was truly different.  This was a story about family relationships and the bond between fathers and sons... and grandsons.

My Rating:

About the Author:
Jonathan Safran Foer is the author of the bestseller Everything Is Illuminated, named Book of the Year by the Los Angeles Times and the winner of numerous awards, including the Guardian First Book Prize, the National Jewish Book Award, and the New York Public Library Young Lions Prize. Foer was one of Rolling Stone's “People of the Year” and Esquire's “Best and Brightest.” Foreign rights to his new novel have already been sold in ten countries. The film of Everything Is Illuminated, directed by Liev Schreiber and starring Elijah Wood, will be released in August 2005. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close has been optioned for film by Scott Rudin Productions in conjunction with Warner Brothers and Paramount Pictures. Foer lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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