Thursday, 23 March 2017

Book Review - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Book Review - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
By Jonathan Safran Foer

'In a vase in a closet, a couple of years after his father died on 9/11, nine-year-old Oskar discovers a key...

The key belonged to his father, he's sure of that. But which of New York's 162 million locks does it open?

So begins a quest that takes Oskar - inventor, letter-writer and amateur detective - across New York's five boroughs and into the jumbled lives of friends, relatives and complete strangers. He gets heavy boots, he gives himself little bruises and he inches ever nearer to the hear of a family mystery that stretches back fifty years. But will it take him any closer to, or even further from, his lost father?'

I'd heard a lot of good things about this book before I finally picked it up to read. And I'd seen it in so many places, on so many friends and work colleagues book cases, that it had begun to seem like some kind of strange mystery book that I must be missing out on. 

Before you ask, I have not watched the film.

This is a very moving and powerful story of a young boy dealing with the loss of his father, but it is also a journey through the lives of his family, and the impact of terrible events on the lives of so many other people. It is honest, and explores these lasting effects throughout the characters lives.

The Writing - Jonathan has a very distinct writing style. He's fast paced, detailed, and interesting. There's a lot of dialogue in some parts, which is interesting because even then he's still found the right balance and it adds to the story. Parts of this book are incredibly wordy - but that reflects the characters and what's going on in their minds, you almost feel as you read it that they have literally opened some kind of tap from their mind straight to the page. His writing invokes emotional responses throughout the book that hold you to the characters. This book is engrossing, there were parts where I found myself reading faster and faster, unable to pull myself out and put it down. Jonathan has definitely found a way of gripping his readers and stopping them wanting to let go. 

The Plot - The plot for this book is fascinating. It's deep, multi-layered, and spans generations. And it has been weaved together beautifully. Because the story of Oskar is not just his story, it is a journey of discovery through the hidden past of his family, and the interweaving stories of these characters leaves you breathless and hungry for more. These stories are strange and intricate, they are stark, they tackle difficult subjects incredibly well, and they are personal. Here I think that Jonathan has created something original, something tied together by disaster, by love, and by sadness and the ability to move forwards and start anew even when you don't know how. In this book he takes us on a journey through the disasters that ravaged history, seen through the eyes of ordinary people, and the lasting effects they had, and still have, on so many people, in so many places. 

The Characters - The characters in this book are utterly unique, they are strange, and sometimes broken, but they are strong, and multi-faceted. They make real decisions and Jonathan gives you an incredible insight into the inner workings of their brains, as if they were as real as you or me. These characters have been places and seen things, they've lived, they've known hardship, and they've struggled through, one way or another. In many ways this books contains some of the richest and most diverse characters I've seen in a while, because this story is not just about the main characters. As Oskar makes his way through New York, on his quest to solve the mystery of the key, he encounters people of all shapes and sizes, and from all walks of life. He talks to these people, learns about them, hears their stories, and so you get a glimpse into all the worlds of all these people. In many ways I feel as if this book is a reflection on human life, in the way that it encompasses so many people, so many ideas and concepts, so many truths and realities, so many stories. 

I would recommend that you read this book. 
It is fascinating, heartbreaking, beautiful, and strong. Don't miss it. 

Rach x 

No comments:

Post a Comment