Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
By Jonathan Safron Foer
Published in 2005
Comments: This book was a surprise. I did not expect to like this book. I admit it; I am prejudiced when it comes to "critic" darlings. I know I shouldn't be, but something in me rebels against authors who get all this praise like they are the next big thing. Not to mention friends of mine didn't like Everything Is Illuminated, the first work by this author, and a book I have not read. Yet.
But I liked this book. I was worried that the 9/11 subtext would bother me, especially this close to the 4th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center. However, it worked for me. It wasn't the main story, it was more what spurred the story on.
Our hero, Oskar Schell, is not your typical 9-year-old boy. He is an inventor, a jewelry designer, astrophysicist, tamborine player and pacifist. He lost his father in the attacks on September 11 and has been lost ever since. One day while snooping around in his father's things he finds a mysterious key with the name Black on it. Being a very curious boy (the kind who has to KNOW everything) and hoping to become closer to his father again, he begins an 8-month-long quest to find the lock that goes with the key. Intertwined is the story of Oskar's grandparents, victims of the firebombing of Dresden during World War II.
Oskar is one of those characters…who just amaze you. He's such an innocent, he's what you wish everyone could be like, he's what you wish you could be like. His story moved me in ways I can't begin to describe. He even made me cry, which is not easy to do.
I say no matter your prejudice, this is a good book to try. Hopefully you won't be sorry.