I went into this one most excited about Shakespeare's Moor, but as in Julius Caesar, the title character didn't turn out to be the central character....moreI went into this one most excited about Shakespeare's Moor, but as in Julius Caesar, the title character didn't turn out to be the central character. While Othello's status as an Other and his relationship with Desdemona are all interesting, to me Othello is all about Iago.
At first Iago kind of reminded me of Julius Caesar's Cassius. But I soon discovered that unlike the sympathetic Cassius, Iago is a virtual sociopath. And Shakespeare is so good at writing him! Just incredible and fascinating.(less)
So I kind of left this book at home and still have 100 pages left. AAAAH! But I'll be borrowing a copy from the library ASAP.
So far: Hilarious. Full o...moreSo I kind of left this book at home and still have 100 pages left. AAAAH! But I'll be borrowing a copy from the library ASAP.
So far: Hilarious. Full of surprises. Sad. Adorable. Kind of annoying. EXTREMELY IMAGINATIVE. And very experimental, though I have to say it's becoming tiring for me. The grandfather's writing style especially, and especially in big doses. He has no voice except for emo-ness, and really long sentences.
I enjoy Oksar's narrative the most, I think it's the best part. But even while he is quirky and has a *great* voice and child's perception (SO GOOD), he is not entirely believable. Sometimes you can very clearly see the author come through the things that he says, especially when making big statements about love, life, death, and healing. Some of these are beautiful and inventive; others feel contrived in their poeticality and symbolism.
Not too far into the book, I did start to lose interest and found myself waiting for the Oskar parts. The alternating narratives don't seem to have any direction or to connect successfully. And it is definitely repetitive and overly emotional at this point. Everybody just cries. I think their stories would touch us more if we weren't always told that they began to cry.
On Extremely Loud in comparison to its twin, The History of Love: I heard how Krauss & Foer didn't read each other's books until after they were published, and it is too, too remarkable. This is what people call Destiny, or something like that. Similarities are MANY! (Someone could write a thesis on it.)
Perhaps it is up to personal taste and experience which one you like better. To me, Foer is talented, sensitive, and imaginative like his spouse, but much more outrageous and risk-taking. His ideas just overflow onto the pages from his ever-creating brain, and they are often delightful. Unfortunately, they can't all fit. Even a little streamlining would help, I think. Foer is not attentive to two very key things which are the pacing and construction of his novel.
I find Krauss's writing to be a lot tighter and subtler, and The History of Love is better as a story, but given that we're all different, the erraticism and sentimentality of Extremely Loud might appeal to some people more. I'd definitely be interested in hearing whether people were moved more by Extremely Loud or The History of Love, or both (or neither).(less)