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Sunday, January 07, 2007

This book is worth reading, or perhaps skimming, for its depiction of a young boy’s experience of losing his father in the World Trade Center attacks of September 11, 2001. That day is unforgettable to many, and Jonathan Safran Foer does a good job of portraying the grief and confusion that afflicted the families of the victims. He is one of the first to deal with those events in a novel. However, the book as a whole comes across as overly affected and self-conscious.

Oskar Schell is 9 years old when his dad dies. His sadness controls much of the next few years of his life, as does his guilt about his actions on that fateful morning. His childish thoughts and attempts at self-preservation are faithfully and insightfully portrayed. Oskar is very intelligent and precocious, and more than a little nerdy. At times he assumes a more mature persona than is realistic, and his high-pitched personality grates.

A unexpected theme of the novel related to the World War II experiences of Oskar’s grandmother and grandfather. While interesting, these chapters failed to add to the story, and seemed rather to be opportunities to introduce the sex and obsessive-compulsive character traits requisite to modern novels.

Title:Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Author:Jonathan Safran Foer
Date published:2005
Number of pages:368


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