Extremely loud and incredibly close

There are few times when one finishes reading a book and thinks to himself: “I really wish I had written that”. That’s how I felt when I turned over the last page of the second novel of Jonathan Safran Foer, “Extremely loud and incredibly close”.

Oskar Schell, a quite special nine year old boy who has lost his father in the 9/11 tragedy, starts a secret search of a lock which will match the key he has found in a vase hidden in his father’s closet. This awesome journey will bring him to know many other New Yorkers who deal with their own tragedies in their own way, and will, eventually, provide certain closure to him as he deals with his own fears in order to accomplish his aim.

Foer uses a brilliant narrative which combines Oskar’s diary with some intriguing letters that interconnect with his grandparents history, related to the firebombing in Dresden in 1945. The author does, as well, include other eloquent visual resources like photographs, highlighted words, illegible text and coded text, which embellish the literary work, and are a great and innovative way to catch the reader’s attention and make the story more credible and interesting.

Without fear of being overemotional, and using such a special and tragic contemporary context, Foer provides the exact proportion of humor, drama and tenderness perfectly basted, to learn from Oskar’s hand that imagination is one of the best ways to deal with the most appalling events and fears in our lives, and that the search for truth, love and beauty will indeed, and finally, set us free.

By Laia Vilaseca.

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