There are no adequate adjectives to describe the weight and caliber of this work. It made me laugh aloud, tear up, it tugged at my heart, left me wanting more and kept me satisfied.
Foer’s main character, Oskar Schell, is a boy who lost his father in one of the twin towers on September 11, 2001. The story is about how Oskar finds life in the midst of losing life. Assuming his father left him with a task to find what lock a mysterious key fits, Oskar spends the entire length of the novel searching for the lock to which the key belongs. Along the way Oskar encounters many people who tell him their story, their struggles, their dreams and desires, their losses. Oskar’s life overlaps with the lives of those he meets, and he learns that life is filled with ugly twists and turns, it’s filled with small details that are not necessarily as important to certain people as they are to others. He learns that family is not always merely conventional. He experiences the loss and struggles of others. But most importantly, Oskar encounters people who have survived, as he is surviving. They have found a way to move forward.
This novel is ingenious, and the ending is so poignant and important. Everyone has experienced loss in one way or the other, everyone has experienced pain, love, family, these are common themes. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close takes the reader through these common themes from a different angle, a different perspective, upside down, right side up, sideways, and backwards.
This work is a must read, I highly recommend it.