Jennifer (aka EM)’s review of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by JSou (new)

JSou Wow, what a great review.

The textual 'gimmickry', as some have called it, is evocative of Vonnegut, in that it sheds an obliquely-angled light on these characters, and their struggles to communicate--after trauma--their deepest feelings, their shame and their guilt, their loss and their grief.

I loved Everything is Illuminated, but I've kind of been putting this one off since I've heard so many mixed reviews on it. After reading that line, I have to give this one a try.

message 2: by Jennifer (aka EM) (last edited Jun 11, 2010 01:15PM) (new)

Jennifer (aka EM) Thank you, Jessica--I appreciate the feedback.

I haven't read Everything is Illuminated, but I will. I'm almost afraid to pick up another book right now--even another Foer, or perhaps especially another Foer--as this one is still so fresh.

It's not just the illustrations and text treatments that reminded me of Vonnegut--there's something almost whimsical in the tone. Many of Vonnegut's characters are child-like and sad in the way that Oskar and other characters in EL&IC are. There's a theme around optimism/pessimism that also struck me as Vonnegutian (is that a word?).

I'll look forward to your review.

message 3: by Kim (new)

Kim I would wait on EII... I think it's so important on its own... let this one breathe a little.

I'm glad that there are people out there that appreciate this one. Screw the nay sayers.... I want a book that makes me feel and this so fit the part. Sometimes being a skeptic can narrow the mind and lose some of the beauty, you know?


message 4: by Julie (new)

Julie What a gorgeously thoughtful review, Ms. Extraordinary E. Muse. :) I am excited to have this on my to-read list.

message 5: by Jen (new)

Jen I'm loving this book right now.

message 6: by jo (new)

jo what a powerful review. how did i miss it?

Jennifer (aka EM) thank you so much, jo. Sorry the link is now broken - if I can somehow find the article, I'll fix it.

message 8: by Jason (new)

Jason Ugh. This book.


Jennifer (aka EM) hahahahaha. lemme go read your review... ;-)

Jennifer (aka EM) well, that wasn't so bad!

you seem to have two beefs: 1) inconsistencies and confusion in the details (sorry, don't remember the book enough to clear these up - if they are even clearable); 2) the textual gimmickry.

I responded differently to 2), but 1) raises an interesting point about reading (and rating) a book. When do we focus on the details and nitpick; and when do we enjoy the experience and let any inconsistencies wash over us?

This was a wash-over-me moment - as was Everything Is Illuminated. There`s something about JSF that just grabs me by the short-and-curlies. Well, the two I`ve read, that is. I tend to lump his wife - Nicole Krauss - in with him; there's a halo effect. I'd say she's the better writer, in fact, even though I understand her plots even less.

But plot doesn't matter for me with these two. And usually, the plottier the better for me. I'ma go think on this on the drive to work...

message 11: by Jason (new)

Jason Yeah, I was mostly being facetious with my "oh, THIS book" comment. I didn't hate it; I just didn't love it.

I agree about Krauss. I've only ever read The History of Love but I connected with it a lot more than I did with this particular JSF. I have still yet to read Everything is Illuminated, though.

message 12: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne Thanks for this lovely review, Jennifer. I had not wanted to read this book, and now I do. As far as the “gimmickry” issue, if a technique has a purpose, and one that works effectively, as you indicate Foer’s does very well to accomplish his purposes – then it’s not a gimmick at all. It’s a legitimate use of artistic choices to accomplish certain goals.

Jennifer (aka EM) Jason wrote: "Yeah, I was mostly being facetious with my "oh, THIS book" comment. I didn't hate it; I just didn't love it."

Which is interesting because there's not a lot of middle-ground on this one!

Have you read Chabon? Specifically, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier Clay? That's another polarizing read, I've noticed. I land in the middle on that one (I see I've rated it 4 but barely...)

I liked Everything Is Illuminated even better, mostly because I found it funnier and also sadder. It's a very different book - some people I know loved EL&IC and hated EII and vice versa; some love both; some just don't like JSF no matter what he does.

Suzanne wrote: "It’s a legitimate use of artistic choices to accomplish certain goals."

Thank you for your kind comments, Suzanne! That's a perfect way to summarize it. I'll be interested in your review if/when you get around to it.

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