Monday, November 23, 2009

November Reading 4/2

Extremely Loud and Incredibility Close
Jonathan Safran Foer

Oskar Schell lost his Father two years ago during 9/11. He wears his heavy boots all the time trying to cope with his death until one day he accidently knocks over a blue vase and finds a key with the name Black written on it. Oskar thinks finding the lock to the key could bring him closer to his father so he goes on a search of every Black in New York City. Oskars most trusted person is his Grandmother, a woman with her own sad story from Dresden. Her husband, Oskars Grandfather, left before his son was born. Now with the past and the present colliding there are heartbreaking stories told from every direction.

The middle of last week Foer spoke at one of the Chicago Public Libraries and I decided to go, knowing from the start that I do not want my beliefs about food changed. (His new book, Eating Animals, is about factory farming and his choice to stay a vegetarian.) What I was surprised to find as he read sections of his work of non-fiction was how poetic his stories of his family were, which leads me to why I decided to go back and reread one of my favorite novels.

The three stories (Oskar, Thomas, and the Grandmother) and all unique and compelling. Foer has a way of making his characters real while setting them in intense and terrible situations. Every time I reread one of my old favorites I get slightly panicked that I will have outgrown them. I am pleased to say that once again that wasn't the case. I may be older, but Oskar is still easy to relate to. Thomas's stories are still beautifully tragic, Foer takes you on journeys that you may not want to always go on, but you enjoy none the less. The purposes of the pictures is clear, but often times they are unnecessary and sometimes unsettling. A great read.


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