Is extremely loud and incredibly close a good book
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - Review and Analysis
If Jonathan Safran Foer ever tells his readers what he thinks and feels, he tells it slant. Half of his celebrated debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated , consisted of tiresome magic-realist yarns about a Ukrainian shtetl, written by a quasi-fictional Jonathan Safran Foer. It looks at September 11 through the eyes of Oskar Schell, a weird, precocious 9-year-old whose father died in the World Trade Center collapse. In a novel about the Holocaust, this kind of oblique, even playful, strategy worked, partly because the subject has already been so exhaustively and earnestly explored. But September 11, that spectacular monstrosity plopped into the middle of an ordinary Tuesday in downtown Manhattan, is another matter.
Oskar Schell is nine years old although he will claim to be eight if he wants someone to feel sorry for him; or 12 if he wants a kiss. Things which are good are like "one hundred dollars", but when things get bad Oskar gets "heavy boots". And things are pretty bad. His father has been killed in the 11 September attacks and Oskar - an inventor of all kinds of imaginary things, including cars so long they begin at your home and end at your destination - seems condemned to spend his life "inventing" his father's unknown death. His father left other mysteries behind him.
Houghton Mifflin Company. ITS title is "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," but it will also be known, inevitably, perhaps primarily, and surely intentionally, as that new Sept. Does a novel with such a high-concept visual kicker and sensational book-club conversation starter even need a title at all? Besides containing a wealth of other photographs and attention-grabbing graphic elements, Jonathan Safran Foer's second novel his first was "Everything Is Illuminated" positively teems with text -- most, but not all, of which takes the form of prose. There's a distinction, of course, and Foer is just the sort of brainy, playful young writer, his critical faculties honed by the academy and his multimedia sensibilities shaped by the Internet and heaven knows what else, for whom this arcane distinction is second nature and a perfect excuse for fun and games. To Foer and his peers who can't really be called experimental, since their signature high jinks, distortions and addenda first came to market many decades back and now represent a popular mode that's no more controversial than pre-ripped bluejeans , a novel is an object composed of pages tattooable with an infinite variety of nonsentence-like signs and signifiers.
Exceptional writing, suffocated characters
The book's narrator is a nine-year-old boy named Oskar Schell., The hero, a nine-year-old boy called Oskar Schell, has lost his father, Thomas, in the collapse of one of the Twin Towers. Further, he is the only person to have heard the five decreasingly sanguine messages that Thomas, trapped in a meeting at Windows on the World, left on the family answering machine.
A starred review indicates a book of outstanding quality. A review with a blue-tinted title indicates a book of unusual commercial interest that hasn't received a starred review. Oskar Schell, hero of this brilliant follow-up to Foer's bestselling Everything Is Illuminated , is a nine-year-old amateur inventor, jewelry designer, astrophysicist, tambourine player and pacifist. Foer embellishes the narrative with evocative graphics, including photographs, colored highlights and passages of illegibly overwritten text, and takes his unique flair for the poetry of miscommunication to occasionally gimmicky lengths, like a two-page soliloquy written entirely in numerical code. Although not quite the comic tour de force that Illuminated was, the novel is replete with hilarious and appalling passages, as when, during show-and-tell, Oskar plays a harrowing recording by a Hiroshima survivor and then launches into a Poindexterish disquisition on the bomb's "charring effect.
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