When his father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, Oskar sets out to solve the mystery of a key he discovers in his father's closet. It is a search which leads him into the lives of strangers, through the five boroughs of New York, into history, to the bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima, and on an inward journey which brings him ever closer to some kind of peace.
©2005 Jonathan Safran Foer; (P)2005 HarperCollins UK
"Piercing and so funny." (The Bookseller)
"[Oskar's] first-person narration of his journey is arrestingly beautiful, and readers won't soon forget him." (Booklist)
"Jonathan Safran Foer's second novel is everything one hoped it would be: ambitious, pyrotechnic, riddling, and above all...extremely moving. An exceptional achievement." (Salman Rushdie)
"Brilliant....Unafraid to show his traumatized characters' constant groping for emotional catharsis, Foer demonstrates once again that he is one of the few contemporary writers willing to risk sentimentalism in order to address great questions of truth, love, and beauty." (Publishers Weekly)
a little overwrought i felt, dragging out the emotions of loss to a tedious degree. though perhaps americans indulge in discussing their inner thoughts and feelings, and comes across as such to an english reader. nowhere near as good as everything is illuminated.
the protaganist is annoyingly precocious - it comes across as if foer is trying to re-imagine his own childhood as a kid who is smarter than he was. this is nothing to do with the narration which is actually excellent.
The narrator made this for me. I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much as a written book. A reminder than everyone you pass every day has their own story to tell and that while you might think of yourself as original and 'different', so are they.
"Good book on 9/11 impact on a kid's life"
Jonathan Safran Foer has done an excellent job getting "into the mind" of a 9 year old boy that lost his father at the WTC on 9/11. The story is moving and intense, thanks to the first person viewpoint. The narrator has done a good job getting the intensity and confusedness of the book across to the listener.
During the story, it becomes clear that main character Oskar is not the only one dealing with demons from the past. The book provides a solid insight into the ways in which people deal with large unexpected losses in their lives.
The strength as well as the weakness of the book, is the excessive amount of symbolism. While it is often beautiful, it tends to get on your nerves at some points.
All in all, a very worthwhile read in a refreshing style.
"Great performance but too abriged."
I would. the reader did a quite facinating job.
Too abriged. It skipped too much paragraphs.
"fascinating, insightful read"
Loved the story. Wish I could have got the full version though. The condensced version did not do it justice.
"Nice overall story."
The ending, I had expected more.
Not the best performance. Nice story.
"Emotionally refreshing, so well written characters"
Delightfully developed characters and such an AMAZING performance from the readers! Although the story is so sad and upsetting I could not let it go, I listen it all in less than two weeks walking to work. Just amazing and nicely finished at the end.
I can't imagine that reading this book could be half as enjoyable as listening to it. Some books are enhanced by the performance of the narrator; this is certainly one of them. Kerry Shale's communication of the story's pathos, humour, eccentricity, delight and tragedy across generations is brilliant. Bravo!
If (like me) you have a soft spot for intelligent, quirky little boys, you'll love this audiobook. It feels like Foer actually remembers what it's like to be a boy, a great asset in life.
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