20 May 2009

The TBR 2009 Challenge: May 2009

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer: I read this book, which has been sitting on my shelf for several years, for one of my book clubs. Although theoretically I wanted to read it (which is why it is was on my shelf), my hand passed over it every time I reached for a book to read. I still have issues about 9/11 and I really didn't feel ready to read a novel using it as background.
But since it was a book club read, I felt that I would use it as a kickstart. I found Foer's use of games and ciphers and flip books so annoying, and so affected, that it was helpful in distracting me from my PTSD, which tends to pop up whenever I think about that too much. In addition, some people found it amusing to mke nasty comments about NYC and I found my annoyance about the easy anti-Americanness of some expat Americans so annoying that I also found it usefully distracting. I read the novel twice, the second time ignoring all he annoying and silly typographical stunts, and I found that the story, in itself, was worth reading. Not terribly deep, perhaps, but worth reading. I wonder whether the type stunts ehelped to get the novel noticed and whether they were, overall, benefit or a drawback. Anyone have an opinion?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't think I'll be reading it. I am almost finished "Everything is Illuminated". I enjoyed the language games but magical realism isn't my thing and your review of his later book is confirming other things I've read about it.
I finally brought myself to read "Falling Man" (Delillo) about a month ago - and though my connections to 9/11 are much more indirect, I can relate to looking at a book and thinking that I just wasn't ready to deal with it. (I was upset by some of the imagery in War of the Worlds, for instance, and thought it was exploitve.)