This is one of the saddest, most wonderful books I've ever read. Having lived in Manhattan on 9/11, I appreciated the subtle ways that the author and the narrators captured the nuances of that time in New York. The characters are unique, but in so many ways relatable. I don't know how anyone cannot love this book.
quirky, emotional, memorable
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - they both follow the adventures of a socialy impaired male child in a way that is both highly amusing and heartbreaking.
The narrators caught the pace and tone of the book very well. I enjoyed all three voices.
I do plan to listen to this book again because the actors are amazing.
There are too many memorable moments to really authentically pick just one.
I would say that it is rare to say the narration improves a book but in this case it is like listening to a play brought to life by the actors.
I listened to it on a cross country train trip so I did listen in one sitting and loved it.
If you only get to listen to one book this year let it be this one.
I had read this book a few years ago when it was first published. My anticipation of the release of the movie version of this story led me to re-visit it via audiobook. I have NO idea how they will do justice to this story as a movie, given the depth of the characters, richness of the language, and the fact that the story is told via three distinct (and very internal) viewpoints. That said, I think that audiobook was a brilliant rendition. The actors are very skilled. My only criticism was that Oscar's voice as rendered by an adult took a little getting used to... as he is quite young in the story. Once used to it, it didn't detract, and I think the actor did a very fine job.
This book is not just about 911 and its impact on a child. This book is about the multigenerational impact of trauma... what it means to survive major disasters, what it means to lose beloveds to those disasters, how people are transformed and go on, with all the brokenness and resilience that can and does result. There are parts of this story that are unbearably sad... and also moments of shimmering transcendence, wonderful humor, and humanness in all its imperfection. This is a story of tremendous depth, brilliantly written and expertly performed.
I love books!
This book is the kind that makes you think. The book is about one family that lost someone in 9-11 and also about the effects of the Dresden firebombing to that same family's grandparents It is about as sad a subject that anyone could ever write about but Jonathan Safran Foer is such a talented writer that he knows how to pepper the book with tenderness and laughter. I will most likely remember this book for a long long time because it is so well done and it makes one think but it is not for everyone.
Loved the narrators.
Really enjoyed it. Very different writing style, but it was great. The story pulls you in. Not for everyone, but most will love it. The book will be far greater than the movie.
I definitely had mixed feelings about this book.
The first few minutes of "Oskar's" narration sounded like an example of a poster child with Asperger's. But what he was saying was intriguing, so I continued listening.
As the book progressed, I found that I really did not like any of the characters. I could not relate to any of them, and I did not understand why they would withhold crucial information and why they would leave so many things unsaid, while acknowledging that they did this sort of withholding. I also had a lot of trouble understanding why they would do some of the things that they would do. The author also did indicate why his characters would behave so peculiarly. I also felt that the three main characters, whose narration we hear in three different voices, had serious psychological problems. I also dislked the fact that Oskar's mother was depicted as such a nonentity.
But in spite of that, I still kept listening because I really wanted to know what was going to happen with all these characters. Isn't that weird? The plotting and the story saved the day for me, and kept me in suspense until the very end.
I also found the audio production to be very well done. The voices of all three characters were very distinct, and two of them sounded age-appropriate. Oskar sounded a little older than he was, according to the book, but that probably couldn't be helped. I don't know how many narrators there are who can simulate an 8- or 9-year-old boy.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
This book is all about the voice of its protagonist, Oskar, a bright, precocious boy who seems to have a touch of Asperger's sydrome. His quest to find a lock that matches a mysterious key belonging to his dead father, who was killed in the 9/11 attacks, seems initially both pointless and poignant, but his determination soon enlists the reader in finding out what happens next. There's a keen awareness to Foer's portrayal of a child's wisdom, naivete, stubborness, fragility, infuriatingness, and sympathy, and makes Oskar's perspective in respect to dealing with grief perhaps a more honest one than that of an adult. He's unwilling to settle for inadequate answers, and even if there aren't answers, he doesn't give up searching. The book is touching, funny, insightful, and full of oddball characters who make their own unique contributions to Oscar's mission, its symbolic intent finding a connection in their own lives.
I thought the book was a bit less involving, though, in the sections where it ventured into the distant past, and offered up ghostlike conversations between Oskar's grandparents. These sections have an emotional connection to the main story, of course, but the lack of much logical one somehow kept them from resonating that much for me. They seemed a bit self-indulgent on the part of Foer.
Still, this is a moving work, and Foer skillfully walks the line between not cheapening his book with an easy ending, and providing a resolution for Oskar's "key" quest. A great effort from a promising young author.
Mountain biking, surfing, skiing, literature, philosophy, psychology, theology and my ipod.
Generous three stars because I got half way through before giving up. The plot is limited to a boy seeking the lock that his father left behind. It is from the perspective of a boy--I guess to justify juvenile humor. Not entertaining enough to continue.
The reader for the character of Oskar was excellent. He reads in his own, normal voice (thankfully) but with subtle childlike inflections. The character of Oskar was also well-conceived and entertaining, even if unrealistically intelligent for his age. Unfortunately, the reader for the grandmother's character is guilty of over-acting. She seemed to be trying for an acting award.
I loved Jonathan Safran Foer's first novel "Everything is Illuminated," but he fails to match his former brilliance here. The story has many sweet and heartbreaking moments...and then many more, and more on top of that. It becomes relentlessly cloying; eyerollingly sappy.
The parts narrated by the grandmother and grandfather just don't work well. They don't advance the plot, which is already dangerously thin. JSF seems to be experimenting with an almost lyrical style in these sections. But if he wanted to write a poem, he should have written a poem. I'm not sure many readers appreciate a novel-length exercise in language noodling.