What exactly is wrong with Oscar Schell, the nine-year old, who is the protagonist in Jonathan Safran Foer's talked about and critically acclaimed Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close? Is he an autist? Psychologically ill? Deeply traumatized? I don't know, but I know that he is hunting for something. A solution, a keyhole, a door, an explanation. An explanation helping him understand why and maybe how his father died in one of th WTC-towers on September 11, 2001.Oscar's hunt for explanations sends him on a quest through streets and buildings in New York, while at the same time he plays his tambourine, writes fanletters to Stephen Hawking, reharses Hamlet, makes jwellery and googles words he does not yet understand the meaning of. At the same time, the reader follows the life, or non-life, of Oscar's grandparents. Their life-stories are told through letters, written either by the grandmother or the grandfather. The parralel between the bombing of Dresden in Germany during WW 2 and September 11, 2001 is easy enough to understand, but other than that, this is a story where the reader must think about almost everything, like the style, the storylines, the persons etc. The book is not hard to read, but the symbolism tends to be too thick in places, and both storyline and persons (specially Oscar) can be very annoying in places as well. Sometimes Foer leans a little bit too much toward another New Yorker writer, Paul Auster, but I do not think this book was plagiarized in any way. I wanted to love this book, but I am still not convinced that it is the masterpiece some call it. I give it 4 stars, but it is 4 small stars.
Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness reviewed the book here.