EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE | JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER | BOOK REVIEW

Please welcome new Salty Book Kernel, Vanessa Capito, to the Salty team. I used to work with Vanessa at a cinema and she is now pursuing journalism and media at university. She put her hand up to the join the team when I commenced the hunt for book critics. She gets the honour of first submitted review and she chose a sensational favourite book for consideration. EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE destroyed me. When I wrote the film review back in early 2012 my descriptive words were “prepare to drown in your own tears.” It was one of the most touching things I had ever read and Oskar deconstructed my heart, stomped on it and then handed it back wrapped in love. The book was better than the movie, expectedly, but the movie was also remarkable and it again had me bawling my eyes out at its beauty. I actually own it on Blu Ray but have been too scared to return to the world from Jonathan Safran Foer – but enough of my babbling – enjoy this fine (very first) review from Kernel Vanessa. The book is published by Penguin Books Australia and you can buy it HERE. All the best….JK.

 

EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE HAND BOOK COVER IMAGE
EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE | JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER | SALTY POPCORN BOOK REVIEW | HAND BOOK COVER

 

REVIEW BY VANESSA CAPITO 

Jonathan Safran Foer’s, EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE is an ambitious step forward in the right direction for the second time author (EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED). An exploration of the grief and traumas of post 9/11, the novel is perfectly poignant as it encompasses mourning, and the struggle between self-destruction and self-preservation.

It follows the story of Oskar Schell, a nine year-old, tambourine-playing inventor with predominantly heavy boots, as he embarks on a quest to discover the lock that fits an unexplained key and it’s connection to his father, who died in the collapse of the World Trade Centre on the morning of September 11.

Oskar, who lives with his mother in Manhattan, is an extremely emotional yet intelligent child who often falls victim to his own fears and phobias which have only been exacerbated in the wake of his father’s death. Through this post 9/11 trauma, and his own natural eccentricities and preciousness, the seemingly impossible task of finding this lock is what brings Oskar into contact with all sorts of exhilarating and often hilarious experiences along this fundamentally healing journey.

 

EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE MINIMALIST SWING BOOK POSTER
EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE | JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER | SALTY POPCORN BOOK REVIEW | MINIMALIST MOVIE POSTER (ARTIST UNKNOWN)

 

Foer’s ability to braid the novel together through the perspectives of several different characters only adds to the integrity of the protagonist, Oskar, making his story and emotions incredibly honest and believable. More often that not, one of the secondary perspectives will provide a chapter for each one of Oskar’s narrations. Oskar’s grandmother’s story is told through letters she has written to Oskar, each one titled ‘My Feelings’, while his grandfather’s letters which have been written over long periods of time, are all addressed to his son, Oskar’s father, titled, ‘Why I’m Not Where You Are’. Although confusing at first, and seemingly irrelevant in the beginning, the intertwining of these letters within the story adds originality and makes complete sense by the end of the novel.

EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE also takes on the use of type settings, photographs and blank pages. Foer’s creativity with the layout of this book allows for an appreciation of the visual aspect of writing, but also enhances the reader’s connection with the novel as the unconventional layout somewhat matches the thought process of young Oskar.

A mixture of humour, sadness, awakening and happiness, EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE is so impeccably imagined and so boldly executed. Foer’s unique and honest style is what makes this novel like no other book. An absolute must read.

 

5 Pops