Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer - review by John Dugdale

John Dugdale

Adventures of an Antic Mind

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close


Hamish Hamilton 350pp £14.99

Jonathan Safran Foer’s award-winning debut, Everything Is Illuminated, used humour – centring on the experiences of the character ‘Jonathan Safran Foer’ when visiting Ukraine, and his dealings with a translator speaking an eccentric version of English – as a way to coax the reader towards its eventual subject: the Holocaust, metonymically embodied in the massacre of a Jewish community. Its obvious literary model was Isaac Bashevis Singer. 

His follow-up tackles the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 in a broadly similar way. Although the novel’s central horrific event is disclosed much earlier (Oskar, the young main narrator, lost his father Thomas in the destruction of the Twin Towers), the approach is once again oblique, and audacious in

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