Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: Jonathan Safran Foer

I was interested to read this one as I remember quite enjoying Everything is Illuminated sometime ago and I knew this one had been made into a film starring Tom Hanks. I didn’t know much about it except that it had a young boy as its protagonist and was set in post-9/11 New York.

Oskar Schell’s father dies in the World Trade Center buildings on 9/11 and he is subsequently deeply traumatised by his loss. He becomes fixated with a key he finds in a vase in his father’s cupboard and is determined to track down its owner, meeting a host of interesting people along the way. Meanwhile across the street, his grandparents, themselves suffering from living through the Dresden bombing during the war, are muddling through their dysfunctional relationship made more difficult by his grandfather’s mutism.

I didn’t really enjoy this book although I was occasionally moved in spite of myself. I felt the plot was rather contrived and the grandparent’s story just too weird. I’m also a little bored by novels centring around precocious young boys, probably on the autistic spectrum. I don’t really know what else to say, it just makes me want to shrug my shoulders.

3 stars.


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