Jonathan Safran Foer emerged as one of the most original writers of his generation with his best-selling debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated. Now, with humor, tenderness, and awe, he confronts the traumas of our recent history. Nine-year-old Oskar Schell has embarked on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five boroughs of New York. His goal is to find the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11. This seemingly impossible task will bring Oskar into contact with survivors of all sorts on an exhilarating, affecting, often hilarious, and ultimately healing journey.
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Extremely Rich and Incredibly Written
I came across this book when I saw an ad in our local newspaper for a book club meeting, discussing Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Not having read everything is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer’s first book, I had no idea what to expect. What I did notice however is all the reviewers here either gave it 5 stars or 1 star. I thought that was odd.
You can count me in with the 5 star crowd.
I fell in love with Oskar, an endearing 9-year-old boy who is struggling to come to terms with his father’s death. It shows how 911 impacted a nine-year-old child. Oskar in many ways is a typical 9 year old, however he is extremely smart and incredibly precocious. He sets out on a mission to find a lock that the key he found in his father’s closet will open. He feels if he could only find the lock, he would feel closer somehow to his dad.
When I first heard the voices of Oskar’s grandmother and grandfather discussing their lives and tragedies, I was thrown off. I was not sure how these strange voices have anything to do with the enjoyable story of this quirky little kid traveling NYC. The grandparents story very much intertwined with Oskar's story, As they lived through the fire bombings in Dresden, their tragedy and Oaskar's tragedy are all parts of human caused disasters that end up with the same result…human suffering.
This book is so well written and narrated, I was sorry when it was over. It takes a while to get into it, but once you’re there the journey is well worth it.