Thursday, February 28, 2013

Review: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer


Meet Oskar Schell, an inventor, Francophile, tambourine player, Shakespearean actor, jeweler, pacifist, correspondent with Stephen Hawking and Ringo Starr. He is nine years old. And he is on an urgent, secret search through the five boroughs of New York. His mission is to find the lock that fits a mysterious key belonging to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11.

An inspired innocent, Oskar is alternately endearing, exasperating, and hilarious as he careens from Central Park to Coney Island to Harlem on his search. Along the way he is always dreaming up inventions to keep those he loves safe from harm. What about a birdseed shirt to let you fly away? What if you could actually hear everyone's heartbeat? His goal is hopeful, but the past speaks a loud warning in stories of those who've lost loved ones before. As Oskar roams New York, he encounters a motley assortment of humanity who are all survivors in their own way. He befriends a 103-year-old war reporter, a tour guide who never leaves the Empire State Building, and lovers enraptured or scorned. Ultimately, Oskar ends his journey where it began, at his father's grave. But now he is accompanied by the silent stranger who has been renting the spare room of his grandmother's apartment. They are there to dig up his father's empty coffin.(Goodreads)
My Thought
This is the first book of Jonathan Safran Foer that I read. I admit it was not a light reading. I doubt if I could finish it. At first glance, the book was thick and its font was small enough. Some of my friends said that it was not an easy book to digest. In some part, they are right. I can not use my average reading speed to understand what happened. The conversations were written in a very unusual way. I must keep my eyes open for almost chapters. But overall, this is a great book. It has something inside. I think everyone should read this book at least once in a lifetime. They just have to be little bit patience. Since this is not a book to enjoy in a hurry.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close brought me to Oskar Schell with one key that he found in a vase. One key that made him traveled around New York to find all information that might relate to his late father. 

In the beginning, I thought he suffered a disorder or syndrome. It was not stated clearly in the book, though. He had thousand thoughts that crossed his mind, tremendous one. He got many words for everything. You should check it out in the first page. No need to wonder why Oskar mostly acted older than his age. He was not an ordinary boy. Although it was not easy, but I found It was fun to walk and run with him. I like the way he revealed what he kept in his mind. I could not stop giggling when I read all the letter he got. Predicting what he wrote to those famous people was not difficult. I was amazed looking at how he can easily talk to strangers but got no friend in his age. He seem to know tons of things. From him, I know what they call as dry ice cream, and a googolplex which lead me to Googleplex. My favorite part was when he told me about his father. It needs no sweat to understand how tight the bound between them.

Oskar indeed dominated many parts of the book but some chapters were filled with his grandparent's words. I wish I could just skip them especially when his grandpa's part. I just do not get what he said. But his chapters makes me wonder with its English version. The translation,which has some typo inside, is confusing enough so I am not sure  if I can understand his word in English but the curiosity is still there. I hope one day, with a better vocabulary, I get the chance to read it. 

9/11 attack that was included as the background in this books had its own magnet. All my thought and feelings were instantly coming back. So I got no difficulty to see the situation. I could easily picture how Oskar's father was, when he left some messages in the answering machine.

About the ending, although it was not as I expected, but I loved how Mr Foer wrote it.

Talking about the unusual writing style, I wonder if Jonathan Safran Foer  also writes the same patern in another book. But I wish he wrote this kind of style only for Oskar.

In 2011, this book was made into motion picture. It was nominated for two Academy Awards, Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor. I have not read watched it yet. I hope the movie is as good as its book.




Extremely Loud and Incredibly Cloe
Author: Jonathan Safran Foer
Translator: Antie Nugrahani
Publisher: Mahda Books, Maret 2010
Languange: Indonesian
430 pages



 I read this book for some of my reading challenge:
  • 2013 TBR pile challenge
  • 2013 New Author reading challenge
  • BBI Read Along