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what happens to the grandparents?

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Noel this question came up in my book group discussion. would love to hear your speculation.

Reid They stay in the airport together until they die. If one dies before the other...well, my reading of the book tells me that this would never happen.

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Agreed: they resort to an anonymous life in the airport. The grandmother does this as a sign to her husband that she chooses him over all others (including Oskar).

Trena Post 9/11, I'd be surprised if two people could live in an airport without being noticed and kicked out, especially in NYC with its large homeless population, where I'm sure it had been tried before. But, I don't think we're supposed to think about practicalities (like showering) and believe they live in the airport forever (until there's a medical crisis?). I also don't believe someone could live on the Empire State Building's observation deck, much less be listed in the phone book with that address, but I'm willing to suspend disbelief. Or at least not express my disbelief so much that it ruins the book.

message 5: by Reid (last edited Aug 13, 2008 06:59PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Reid Yes, well, if we start trying to take anything Foer writes as the literal truth, we would be in trouble. What he writes is his own form of magical realism, and he is a master of it. The emotional truth is that the grandparents live forever in the airport. Nothing else is possible. Similarly, one would never think to question that Cinderella and Prince Charming do indeed live happily ever after, though from our own experience we know this to be rather unlikely. We need to believe it, nonetheless.

jacqs They continue their endless cycles of coming together, running away, misunderstanding basic facts about each other, and making conclusions (like staying in the airport) that they don't actually adhere to.

Carolyn While I enjoyed the book and the story, I was a little put off by there not being much closure with the story of the grandparents. Did anyone else feel that way? The end of the book left me wanting more. I wanted to know more about their past lives. I wanted to know more about why they choose the airport. I also felt that I needed to know more about "the renter" and Oskar. Had his grandpa revealed himself to Oskar? Did Oskar feel a connection with him? I don't know. This was one of the frustrations that I had at the end of the novel.

Michaeleen Carolyn - I agree with you about not much closure in this book - but I think Foer does that purposely. There was no closure with Oskar either.

Carolyn I've also posed this question to my literature class. One person said that he loved the ending of the book and couldn't imagine it any other way. He said, that now he could imagine their lives after the end of the story, but if everything had been tied up in a neat package, he wouldn't have been able to do that.

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