Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

I just finished a remarkable book by Jonathan Safran Foer. It’s his second, and the cover is even more “look at me” than his first. I didn’t read the former because I’d heard it was “about the Holocaust” and that put me off. What I didn’t realise was that his second was about 9/11, so no one can say he shies away from the big issues! Like all good books that are worth re-reading, there were moments that I found infuriating and confusing (what’s the deal with the grandfather who lost his wife and unborn child in the Allied firebombing of Dresden in WW2, only to marry her sister, and then leave her when she was about to have their baby!). Other moments were funny, and a couple of chapters towards the end were heartstoppingly sad. The use of many pictures and novelty pages throughout drove me absolutely bananas, but it IS a book with large chunks narrated by nine year old Oskar (whose dad was killed by the tower collapse). The author reminded me of Dave Eggers, but unlike his novels, the interest was sustained all the way through. Sort of like an adults version of “The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night Time” by Mark Haddon. I feel like I should read it again sometime as I missed some chunks of the logic due to general bewilderment at times. Annoyingly, Foer is only 28 years old – curse him! If you want a book to make people look at you in the tram, this is the one. foer.jpg