Thursday, May 6, 2010

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Award: ALA Notable/Best Books

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In my opinion, the less you know about this book going into it the better. It's a book that is more to be experienced than read. It's written in a postmodern style that uses visual writing. That means there's some color, some photographs, and even some blank space that is used to more effectively tell the story, help the reader feel a mood, evoke an emotion, or experience something that might not translate as well with just the written word. (I know this because I had to look it up.) But, the words themselves are stunning.

This book is about the impact of 9/11 on a New York family set in 2003. Most of the book is told from the perspective of precocious 9-year old Oskar Schell, who loses his father on that fateful day. But it's also about Oskar's grandparents who were present for the Allied bombing of Dresden during WWII. Their stories weave in and out as the reader gets perspectives from Oskar and both of his grandparents through flashbacks and their writings from the present-day.

I can see how this book provides strong opinions--both positive and negative. But I was floored by its creativity, sensitivity, and humanity. It's not a book that is terribly realistic. Oskar is much older than his 9 years and he is granted an amazing amount of freedom in New York City for one so young. I read this book as more of a myth and allowed myself to feel the impact of the language and images--some of which hurt and some of which were brilliant and beautiful.

Also reviewed by:
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Book 40 of 100 for the 100+ Reading Challenge, Book 26 of 50 for the New Author Challenge, Book 19 of 50 for the RYOB Challenge, Book 32 of 55 for the Countdown Challenge (2005)

Source: BookMooch

11 comments:

bermudaonion said...

Wow! I don't think I've ever experienced a book like that - you've made me anxious to check it out.

Linda said...

I read that book ages ago and it stuck with me for a long time.

Emilia said...

Is it too much? Like could I read it and not spend the next weeks as a wreck? Because it sounds very interesting, but I'm not sure how ready I need to be for it.

Kathleen said...

I really want to read this one. Between your commentary and the review on Nymeth's blog, I am sold!

Anna said...

I'm okay with fiction that isn't totally realistic, as long as it's not too over-the-top. Do you think there's enough of a WWII storyline in the book for me to link to your review on War Through the Generations?

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Heather @ Book Addiction said...

This is one of my favorite books. I read it years ago and still think about it from time to time. Hmm... you've made me think... perhaps it's time for a reread soon!

Tricia said...

Anna: I've been thinking all weekend and I would say that the WWII element probably isn't strong enough for this book. But, if you ever do a War on Terror challenge, it's a definite winner.

Anna said...

Thanks for letting me know!

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Avid Reader said...

I loved this one too. It made me ache for Oskar.

Corinne said...

You can post to mine, if you want :) I like your review and I liked the book too :)

alisonwonderland said...

My book-lunch group picked this one today for our September read. I'm happy to see your enthusiastic recommendation!