Saturday, March 7, 2009

Incredibly Close

I can't write book reviews. Wait, perhaps that's wrong. I know all the words that one uses--seminal, thoughtful, ground-breaking, heartbreaking, pyrotechnic, highly/finely wrought--but they are all so English major-y and writing them down makes me think of the old college assignments that still show up in my nightmares. Besides, I dislike persuasion. 

When I find a book that I love, I want to share it with you, but will do so through quotes. That way, you don't have to read through all that blah de blah stuff [like this!]. Instead, you can taste tiny bits and get the flavor and decide for yourself if you want to feast on the whole thing. 

Here is what I must tell you about Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer (Houghton Mifflin, 2005): Much of the narration comes from nine-year old Oskar Schell, who has lost his beloved father/friend/intellectual companion in New York on 9/11. Many of the following quotes are from Oskar. Some are from his grandfather, who is also missing, although for other reasons.

Being with him made my  brain quiet. I didn't have to invent a thing. 

She could tell that I was zipping up the sleeping bag of myself. 

I watched the fireflies of his thoughts orbit his head. 

If I had to write her life story, all I could say is that her husband could talk to animals, and that I should never love anything as much as she loved me. 

I'd lost count of the disappointments. 

...sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I'm not living. 

...literature was the only religion her father practiced, when a book fell on the floor he kissed it, when he was done with a book he tried to give it away to someone who would love it, and if he couldn't find a worthy recipient, he buried it...

We stopped laughing. I took the world into me, rearranged it, and sent it back out as a question: "Do you like me?"

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