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Publisher's Summary

Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is an inventor, amateur entomologist, computer consultant, Francophile, letter writer, pacifist, amateur astronomer, natural historian, percussionist, romantic, Great Explorer, jeweller, origamist, detective, vegan and collector of butterflies.

When his father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, Oskar sets out to solve the mystery of a key he discovers in his father's closet. It is a search which leads him into the lives of strangers, through the five boroughs of New York, into history, to the bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima, and on an inward journey which brings him ever closer to some kind of peace.

©2005 Jonathan Safran Foer; (P)2005 HarperCollins UK

Critic Reviews

"Piercing and so funny." (The Bookseller)
"[Oskar's] first-person narration of his journey is arrestingly beautiful, and readers won't soon forget him." (Booklist)
"Jonathan Safran Foer's second novel is everything one hoped it would be: ambitious, pyrotechnic, riddling, and above all...extremely moving. An exceptional achievement." (Salman Rushdie)
"Brilliant....Unafraid to show his traumatized characters' constant groping for emotional catharsis, Foer demonstrates once again that he is one of the few contemporary writers willing to risk sentimentalism in order to address great questions of truth, love, and beauty." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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    21
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    9
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    1
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    2
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Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Philip
  • Kapelle, Netherlands
  • 03-02-07

Good book on 9/11 impact on a kid's life

Jonathan Safran Foer has done an excellent job getting "into the mind" of a 9 year old boy that lost his father at the WTC on 9/11. The story is moving and intense, thanks to the first person viewpoint. The narrator has done a good job getting the intensity and confusedness of the book across to the listener.

During the story, it becomes clear that main character Oskar is not the only one dealing with demons from the past. The book provides a solid insight into the ways in which people deal with large unexpected losses in their lives.

The strength as well as the weakness of the book, is the excessive amount of symbolism. While it is often beautiful, it tends to get on your nerves at some points.

All in all, a very worthwhile read in a refreshing style.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great performance but too abriged.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would. the reader did a quite facinating job.

Any additional comments?

Too abriged. It skipped too much paragraphs.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Dempsey
  • Paraparaumu, New Zealand
  • 07-30-12

fascinating, insightful read

Any additional comments?

Loved the story. Wish I could have got the full version though. The condensced version did not do it justice.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Ilse
  • Grembergen, Belgium
  • 05-13-12

Nice overall story.

Would you try another book from Jonathan Safran Foer and/or Kerry Shale?

Yes.

What was most disappointing about Jonathan Safran Foer’s story?

The ending, I had expected more.

Would you be willing to try another one of Kerry Shale’s performances?

No.

Any additional comments?

Not the best performance. Nice story.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Emotionally refreshing, so well written characters

Delightfully developed characters and such an AMAZING performance from the readers! Although the story is so sad and upsetting I could not let it go, I listen it all in less than two weeks walking to work. Just amazing and nicely finished at the end.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Linda
  • Hunters Hill, Australia
  • 12-31-11

Brilliant performance

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I can't imagine that reading this book could be half as enjoyable as listening to it. Some books are enhanced by the performance of the narrator; this is certainly one of them. Kerry Shale's communication of the story's pathos, humour, eccentricity, delight and tragedy across generations is brilliant. Bravo!

Any additional comments?

If (like me) you have a soft spot for intelligent, quirky little boys, you'll love this audiobook. It feels like Foer actually remembers what it's like to be a boy, a great asset in life.

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  • Overall
  • James
  • 09-14-11

okay

a little overwrought i felt, dragging out the emotions of loss to a tedious degree. though perhaps americans indulge in discussing their inner thoughts and feelings, and comes across as such to an english reader. nowhere near as good as everything is illuminated.

the protaganist is annoyingly precocious - it comes across as if foer is trying to re-imagine his own childhood as a kid who is smarter than he was. this is nothing to do with the narration which is actually excellent.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Joanna
  • 12-24-12

Brilliant

Brilliantly written and brilliantly read, I listened twice in a row and have recommended it to all my friends.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Helen
  • 09-01-12

extremely wonderful and incredibly narrated

The narrator made this for me. I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much as a written book. A reminder than everyone you pass every day has their own story to tell and that while you might think of yourself as original and 'different', so are they.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Susan
  • 09-28-11

Beautiful book, wonderful reading

I got this because I have enjoyed Kerry Shale on the radio. He really brings this book to life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful