Extremely loud and incredibly close book criticism
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - New York Magazine Book Review - NymagIf Jonathan Safran Foer ever tells his readers what he thinks and feels, he tells it slant. Half of his celebrated debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated , consisted of tiresome magic-realist yarns about a Ukrainian shtetl, written by a quasi-fictional Jonathan Safran Foer. It looks at September 11 through the eyes of Oskar Schell, a weird, precocious 9-year-old whose father died in the World Trade Center collapse. In a novel about the Holocaust, this kind of oblique, even playful, strategy worked, partly because the subject has already been so exhaustively and earnestly explored. But September 11, that spectacular monstrosity plopped into the middle of an ordinary Tuesday in downtown Manhattan, is another matter.
Crash Course-Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Jonathan Safran Foer has marked out for himself the territory of literary prodigy. His first novel, Everything Is Illuminated, conceived while an undergraduate, written in his early twenties, hailed as an original masterpiece, showered with cash, trailed implications. Not the least of these was what he would do next. The answer is to make precocity his subject. But for all its apparatus of confronting the fact of the attack on the Twin Towers, an apparatus which includes, at the back of the book, a reverse flip-through photographic sequence of a person leaping from the burning building, Safran Foer's novel is most specifically a stylistic exercise, an appropriation of a singular American voice. The voice is one we already know well.
Email address:. More News. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. What The Reviewers Say. Positive Jonathan Raymond, Bookforum. Oskar's travels bring the novel its great momentum and wit, but it is a second story line, the epistolary tale of Oskar's grandparents—a mute sculptor and his sometime muse, both of whom survived the World War II bombing of Dresden—that gives the tale its heart … Through the powerful linkage of historical explosions, from Dresden to Nagasaki to the Twin Towers, framed in a universe that is itself slowly exploding, Foer's imagery begins to roil with the mythopoetic physics of a rabbinic fairy tale … Impressively, the book's bells and whistles actually feel appropriate to its larger meaning, rather than coming across as mere gimmickry.
“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.”
Just as the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center instantly epitomised the clash between Islamic fundamentalism and capitalist hubris, the writing of Jonathan Safran Foer has divided readers into vehemently opposed factions. One side has given him a rapturous reception: confetti-showers of praise, numerous prizes including the Guardian First Book award for Everything Is Illuminated, published when he was only 25 and, for this new novel, a fervent endorsement from Salman Rushdie "ambitious, pyrotechnic, riddling, and above all In the opposite camp, Foer's fiction triggers violently allergic reactions. Dissenters dismiss him as an adolescent chatterbox, all artifice and no substance, all cuteness and no grit. I would have preferred not to take sides. But, looking back at my jottings in the margins of Foer's new book, I can't deny how frequently and furiously I've scribbled "Aaaarrghh!
Well, what a special novel this is. If like me you find the lead character, and primary narrator Oskar Schell a little frustrating and, in my mind, slightly unrealistically painted at times, stick with it. By the end my heart had completely warmed to this nine-year-old boy who was going through something no child should have to. And this is the emotion I wanted and expected to experience knowing the content prior to reading it. Because, you see, this is a story about a small family in NYC coping with the loss of father, husband, and son—Henry Schell—in the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center.
Houghton Mifflin Company. ITS title is "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," but it will also be known, inevitably, perhaps primarily, and surely intentionally, as that new Sept. Does a novel with such a high-concept visual kicker and sensational book-club conversation starter even need a title at all? Besides containing a wealth of other photographs and attention-grabbing graphic elements, Jonathan Safran Foer's second novel his first was "Everything Is Illuminated" positively teems with text -- most, but not all, of which takes the form of prose. There's a distinction, of course, and Foer is just the sort of brainy, playful young writer, his critical faculties honed by the academy and his multimedia sensibilities shaped by the Internet and heaven knows what else, for whom this arcane distinction is second nature and a perfect excuse for fun and games. To Foer and his peers who can't really be called experimental, since their signature high jinks, distortions and addenda first came to market many decades back and now represent a popular mode that's no more controversial than pre-ripped bluejeans , a novel is an object composed of pages tattooable with an infinite variety of nonsentence-like signs and signifiers.