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"Before you know it as the years go by, you're just like other people you have seen, with all those peculiar human ailments. Just another vehicle for temper and vanity and rashness and all the rest. Who wants it? Who needs it? These things occupy the place where a man's soul should be." -- Henderson the Rain King

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Book #27 on my '06 reading list was Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.
I'm not going to write a ton about this one since a) I actually finished it quite some time ago and I've just been too lazy to actually post about it and b) since it's a relatively recent novel and was fairly popular it's easy to find detailed reviews all over the internets. If you're looking for a good summary of the book check out Wikipedia. You can also find a brazillion reviews on MetaCritic or get a taste of the book by reading an excerpt.

The novel centers around nine-year old Oskar Schell, a young boy who has recently lost his father in 9/11. Oskar is an inventor, a vegetarian, a jewelry designer, writes letters to Stephen Hawking, and somehow toes the line between being wise well beyond his years while still remaining a naive young child. Foer's work is packed with big ideas and complex characters like Oskar. He weaves his way through several literary devices, narrative voices, flashbacks, photos, post-modern techniques such as a chapter in which red ink marks up all of the grammatical and spelling errors, etc. Juggling around so many ideas is something only a few authors could even aspire to. Foer doesn't always succeed, but the fact that he is able to come as close as he does to pulling it all off is a tribute to his talent.

All in all I enjoyed the book though I'd recommend reading Foer's debut novel, Everything is Illuminated, first if you aren't familiar with his works.