Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is an inventor, amateur entomologist, Francophile, letter writer, pacifist, natural historian, percussionist, romantic, great explorer, jeweller, detective, vegan, and collector of butterflies, Beatles memorabilia, miniature cacti and coral. When his father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre, his inward journey towards some kind of peace takes him on an odyssey through the five boroughs of New York, as he attempts to solve the mystery of a key he discovers in his father's closet....
©2005 Jonathan Safran Foer (P)2005 Recorded Books LLC
There is a massive technical error in one of the last chapters which resulted in, that I actually was unable to hear a part of this chapter. I would like my money back!
Brilliant, wise, emotional, funny and increadibly sad at the same time. Perfect narrators made it very vivid.
the narration is excellent and added another dimension to a book that I already loved
"breaks your heart and strengthens your soul"
Like many people, 9-11 was a watershed for me and still causes me pain to think about that terrible day and the way it changed the world. So I hesitated watch the movie based on this book. I did see it and later decided to listen to the audible book. I am so glad that I did. The book is far richer and deeper than the movie. It tells how families can wish for the best things but still get things terribly wrong - it talks about guilt but it also talks about courage. Oscar is a super hero in my mind. He is so brave yet so vulnerable - and he brings such poignant joy to the people he meets on his journey towards his dad and his family. His mom has a small but crucial role in how she gave Oscar space to deal with the loss of his father while she had her own devils. I want to read the book again - and again - and again -- I believe that each time this book is read is another revelation - and an affirmation of life and love - even beyond the grave
"an essay on tragic loss. But too long and tedious"
I never warmed too this book. A large part was made up of first person accounts by the 9 year old (?) Oscar and his two grandparents. Most of these I found long and tedious.
"You can smile through the sad parts"
It took me a while to get into this book as it jumps a bit, but once you understand it is going to do that you can relax into the story. It is about a young boy, Oskar, who is trying to cope with the loss of his father and starts a journey. In the background we hear from other family members and from people he meets. It is weird as you can smile though some sad parts, definitively worth a listen or a read.
I'd seen the film of Everything is Illuminated, so wanted to give this a listen. Because there are a few different narratives in it, and they are played out by different actors I did wonder if there was a mistake and chapter two was from a different book, however I was wrong and the alternate chapter narrations worked amazingly well.
There are loads of upsides to this story, particularly the interwoven sub plots, the only negative thing is the narrative from Oskar is definitely not from the mind of a nine year old boy, but once I'd got over that that it sounded like the mind of an odd thirty year old I loved it.
Great Audiobook, and perfectly narrated, to it's credit it is well worth a credit.
Well, I've made it to chapter 6. I simply can't listen to it anymore.
I don't see how a 9 year old boy would be allowed to wander around New York City on his own. The character is just not as a 9 year old would be. I just don't get the story at all.
I'm pretty sure that if my grand-parents had written me a letter (as they had written to the boy in this story) describing their first sexual experience, it would most probably have made me vomit!
"Intriguing idea, well written, weak story."
Nice idea but a bit rambling and ultimately unsatisfying. Oscar the protagonist is an interesting character and you certainly feel his loss but his mission comes to a end in a bit of a whimper.
"Character voices confusing and not consistent"
The voices were not consistent. This lead to it being confusing at times. There should have been more clarity.
Another book by Jonathan Safran Foer - no.
Narrated by the narrators - maybe. I might be being too hard on them because of the book they're reading. But I don't feel I can give more stars for a book I'm disliking so much.
Kazuo Ishiguro's When We Were Orphans
Maybe the basic idea. Before it was written.
Is this book really less than 12 hours long? I'm about 3/4 of the way through and feel like I've been listening to it for months. I'm probably being too cynical but I'm finding it a self-conscious treatment of a bundle of knee-jerk emotional themes such as:
- child with some sort of unusual psychology like Aspergers or Autism (unclear)
- famous tragic incident engraved in the American psyche
- lonely elderly characters
- a variety of relationships revolving around dead or otherwise absent fathers/husbands/sons.
These are portrayed through a series of fanciful situations. To be fair, I don't like whimsy. If you do and you can take as much as the author dishes out, then I suppose that's simply down to personal taste.
Still, the timeline jumps in a way that I don't think works at all. I have no idea why we have to listen to the old lady droning the phrase "Planes crashing into buildings" dozens of times. I'm not sure if (and if so, why) we're supposed to have sympathy for the couple who put themselves through a complicated, eccentric, tortuous and ultimately unbearable relationship for no apparent reason or need.
For me, this book is a mixture of formula, cliche and self-indulgence. I always feel a bit cheated when I've invested time listening to a book that I don't finish. But I have to say I'd feel a bit more cheated giving further time to it.
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