Friday, November 16, 2012

extremely loud and incredibly close: a novel

Funny that Stetson wondered what I thought of this book because I tried writing my longer take on the book a couple of times before leaving it for another day. I might have had a difficult time writing about the novel because I'd just finished it and sometimes a book sits with me for awhile before I can think about what I really thought of it.

I read the book on my Kindle; Jonathan Safran Foer arranged his novel to include photographs and pages that are written as letters or manuscripts so while I got to see the graphic elements of the novel, I don't think I fully appreciated them at first. As I read on, I could better see links between the play of images and the narration. The novel is written with a slow progression toward getting who the characters are, what they've each experienced individually and collectively. I thought a lot about generations and the stories and lives that layer from parent to child to grandchild.

Parts of this book made me cry. It is set in the immediate days, weeks, months after 9/11. The kid in the book is Oskar and his father dies in 9/11 and while some conversations or vignettes are funny, the constant remained an ached that this boy is living with a gigantic rock in his heart. Because Oskar narrates from a young mind, the details he reveals seem truer. He hasn't had a decade to reframe his loss or the tragedy and his own emotional response: he simply tells his moment.

Between Oskar's own narrations are letters from Oskar's grandmother and grandfather, his father's parents. Those letters tell the story of their youth and marriage. And parts of their story are wrenching. And parts are everyday and parts are almost unbelievable. Except that not much in this world, with all the lives being lived right this minute, not much is really that unbelievable.

I don't want to tell much about the stories themselves. I started this book knowing very little about its plot. I think  that may be the best way to read this one. I didn't read it quickly. I walked my way through it. And when I did find the end, I thought it was a great end.

Note about the movie: I also do not want to watch it. I liked the book enough and saw enough in my mind that I don't want a movie to alter the people I met in Extremely Loud. I did go to the IMBd site and was really upset that Ron wasn't included in the movie, unless a similar role is played under a different name. I think one of the themes of Extremely Loud is the closeness of tragedy. In the middle, you may think you are so so alone, but the men and women and children around you are likely not far removed from tragedy. I really liked Ron in the book. I thought he was important to the story.


Steve said...

I hate when I say things like I am going to comment on all of your 30 out of 30 posts, because some posts really don't lend themselves to comments. I don't really have a comment, but I got one in anyway. :)

Have a good night. :)

jsmarslender said...

Well, I'm starting to think of you as a Champion Commentor : ) Enjoy your weekend!

Sergio is Somewhere said...

love this! thanks! you mirrored many of my thoughts. after i'm done with my book-a-week challenge for the year, i might have to go back and reread this one again.

speaking of books that i can't imagine seeing as movies but are...i can't bring myself to see "cloud atlas"
just not gonna happen!