Not going to lie, I was scared to read this. Not because of the story or writing, but because a friend gave it to me and billed it as their favorite book of all time. No pressure!
I like good writing and enjoy lots of titles that would be classified as literary fiction, but some of just seems unnecessarily complicated. (Looking at you, authors who don’t use quotation marks. Punctuation exists for a reason y’all!) Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close uses a stream of consciousness narration that could have EASILY been off putting, but actually worked for the story. It’s post September 11, and nine year old Oskar is still trying to deal with the loss of his father and all this new anxiety in his life. The run on sentences turning into long paragraphs were able to convey some of the anxiousness Oskar feels in just living his day to day life.
I didn’t love everything in this book. There’s a real weird subplot involving Oskar’s grandparents that really didn’t work for me, but everything involving Oskar was really well done. In trying to solve a mystery, he ends up meeting lots of interesting people across the city and we get to experience some of that with the extras included in the book. There are full pages dedicated to showing some of the things Oskar is seeing, so that was a fun reading experience.
I really admire the way that 9-11 is being processed in this book. It’s like being slightly removed and processing grief through this one child makes the whole event easier to look at. Am I going to go out and read Saffron Foer’s entire backlist? Mmmm no, but I am glad I read this and liked it well enough to not have to lie to my friend.