Matt's Reviews > Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
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's review
Jan 30, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction

I'm not entirely sure how to view this one. First off, it's beautifully written. I'd definitely like to read more by this guy. And I never quite got the feeling that he was exploiting September 11th because it was good material for drama - which is a worry I have going into seeing the movie. In one sense, it humanized the attacks for me in a way that I hadn't really put a lot of thought into (I was kinda young at the time, and ever since, it's been one of those issues, like the Holocaust, that I just brush aside whenever it pops into my mind so I don't get incredibly depressed), and by showing it from the agony of the kid, it kinda made it real.

I read a few other reviews and saw words like "treacly" or "cloying," which I didn't really get. If a writer is going for a "beautiful" feel, they will cross over the line for some people, it'll be called saccharine or something of the sort, and for me, that line wasn't that crossed. Where I lost it was in the side story with the grandparents. First off, is everyone always depressed in this book? Are the grandparents supposed to be caricatures of sad refugees from World War II? And isn't the non-speaking thing kind of a ridiculous device?

This is worth a read, but at about 3/4ths of the way into the book, you'll be like, come ON, someone needs to lighten the fuck up.
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