The writing is stylistically similar to "Everything is Illuminated", though is more grounded in reality rather than fantasy. Jonathan Safran Foer has an amazingly fertile imagination, and these readers make his words sing!
I am very glad I read/heard the book. However, I struggled initially with the narrator's voice but eventually got used to his style. And, I also wavered back and forth from enjoying the story to sometimes not liking it. Jumping back and forth from the grandparent's story to the boy's was at times jarring. I read it for a book club and we were all surprised how much this book inspired discussion afterwards. There were many intense, heartbreaking passages. I think I was able to appreciate the story by being able to hear the inflections of the narrator. Other book club members who read the book said there was a lot of wonderful images in the printed book that helped communicate some of what the characters were experiencing.
My instincts told me to quit as soon as I heard the narrator doing a silly nine year old approxomation- but I gave it a chance anyway. Now that I'm thru- I see why you should always listen to your instincts.
If ever there was an assemblage of unbelievable characters, this is it. That doesn't mean it's not worth reading. I recall a few English Lit professors who would have thought this perfect for analysis. What do all the characters' foibles really mean?
To be fair, this isn't the kind of book I normally download. I thought the narration was excellent and the storytelling techniques, e.g., the letters, were interesting. I even found some of the characters entertaining, but not in the least believable. That said, their pain came through truthfully.
In the end, I am going out on a limb to say you probably never read/heard a book like this, so it's an experience you might enjoy on that merit if nothing else.
Don't miss this book. The story,narration-it was wonderful. Oscar will not be soon forgotten. His intensity, his pain,his ability to love-I am so glad I listened to this book.
This was a good book. I enjoyed it every much. It was well written and entertaining. I looked forward to returning to it every evening. The narrator was good as well. Do order this story.
Of all of the audio fiction I have listened to, this has been the best so far. Jonathan Safran Foer , the author of the book, is the first genius in creating the delightful character of Oscar Schell, an eccentric, gifted, and sarcastic child who is mature beyond his years, but held back by the boundries of childhood. The actor who reads his character creates a perfect Oscar.
Listening, you are torn by wanting the lighter observations of Oscar, as the plot gets darker and darker, revealing multi-generational tragedy.
Though it is terribly sad in many parts, this book is equally delightful in the eccentricities of Oscar and the Schell family.
You will miss this one when it's over.
I thought that this was a really good story and I really enjoyed the performances of all of the readers. I really loved the boy and thought he was a great character. I didn't really like the extra, side stories about the grandparents' lives before he was born, I didn't really see what that contributed to the rest of the book. I heard an interview with the author on NPR that I really enjoyed and in the interview they said that the book has all kinds of pictures and stuff so maybe reading it would be a more rewarding experience, I don't know.