Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
I tend to avoid all schmaltzy narratives that focus on September 11th (sorry Edward Cullen... I'm not watching Remember Me), but reading an excerpt from this book had me rethinking my previous stance.
I experienced this as an audiobook borrowed from my library and was instantly sucked in the moment the narrator started speaking. The main character, Oskar Schell reminded me a lot of the boy in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. While I don't believe Oskar to be austic, that same inner dialogue of a young boy lends a different point-of-view to a story that could potentially be seen as a case of try-too-hard. Oskar's voice is relatable while shedding a unique light on the story of the Schell family.
Cutesy Tom Hanks movie aside, this book had me thinking of it throughout the day. And Foer didn't rely on the manipulation of emotions that most 9/11 stories seem to. This wasn't another excuse for us all to think about "where we were" and to insert ourselves into the story of other people's tragedies. This was a story of a family that, while touched by the events of that day. weren't defined by it.
Jonathan Safran Foer emerged as one of the most original writers of his generation with his best-selling debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated. Now, with humor, tenderness, and awe, he confronts the traumas of our recent history. Nine-year-old Oskar Schell has embarked on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five boroughs of New York. His goal is to find the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11. This seemingly impossible task will bring Oskar into contact with survivors of all sorts on an exhilarating, affecting, often hilarious, and ultimately healing journey.