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
It is never defined or discussed but I assumed the main character Oscar is autistic or perhaps has Aspergers disease. I found this condition made relating to his world and ultimately the story challenging, in his profound grief we are subjected to his unfiltered, often repetitive thoughts, which for me stopped the flow of the narrative. This made the book very hard to get into as a majority of the story is in the first person. I also couldn't stop thinking how completely unrealistic it was to let a very young boy travel around a post 9/11 New York, no matter how therapeutic or lightly chaperoned.
I felt the author should have introduced his other characters and their perspectives earlier as I imagine many people would have given up before their importance is realised. Once these parallel stories start filtering through, the full scope really begins to develop and you can appreciate how cleverly he has woven all the threads of past and present culminating in this time and place. His writing is very evocative so if you can drown out the loud and extremely close sections you are left with wonderful concepts like history repeating its self and the ripple effect of our actions flowing outwards .. all of which became apparent towards the end of the book.
"Amazing narration and story but massive techerror"
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!
"I just finished it and am falling apart.wonderful"
Brilliant, wise, emotional, funny and increadibly sad at the same time. Perfect narrators made it very vivid.
"top 10 books"
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!
"If you like Goldfinch ....."
Not one to write long reviews but the portrayal of a child struggling with grief/depression with such humour and insight was so brilliant that it is up there with Goldfinch, Catcher in the Rye and The Bell Jar. Also put me in
mind of May We All Be Forgiven.
Cannot recommend it more highly.
"I really liked it but I wanted to love it..."
This book is quirky and cute and Oskar is really lovable.
But sometimes the coincidences and parallels of people's lives are a bit too much to swallow. Particularly (without spoiling) it some of the narrative in reverse.
"Extraordinary Tale of a Youth's ordeal and hunt"
The print version has some pictures that the audiobook cannot replicate.
It has me intrigued into the boy's frame of mind and train of thought.
Very good on book, audiobook and film.
"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.
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