Monday, March 23, 2009

I had to do it for myself.

This is the second book by Jonathan Safran Foer I've read. I adored his other, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I had high, high hopes for this one.

I was not disappointed. What I like most about this book was the way that Foer is able to weave together not only several different stories, but different voices to create a full narrative that really hits home. We get the tale of a man named Jonathan Safran Foer searching for a woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis. His guide, Alexander, and Alexander's grandfather bring their own distinctive voices. Foer's grandfather's village history is included, along with Foer's grandfather's personal history.

Personally I enjoy a book that uses different points of view, and I think that Foer has a great handle on this technique. I was not as moved as I was with Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, but I think this is because I, a non-Jew, have an easier time relating to the events of 9-11 than the horror of the Holocaust. That being said, I was unable to put this book down and could feel my heart aching at his phrasing - it was just beautiful.

I thought that this was a wonderful book, one that I would recommend to anyone who wants not only a gripping tale, but one that will leave you helplessly enthralled. I will be waiting with bated breathe for Foer's next work.

A few quotes to tempt you:

"The final time they made love, seven months before she killed herself and he married someone else, the Gypsy girl asked my grandfather how he arranged his books." ~ page 229

"We were stupid," he said, "because we believed in things."
"Why is that stupid?"
"Because there are not things to believe in"
(There is no love. Only the end of love.) ~ page 245

"She wore my teeth marks on her body like other wives might wear jewelry." ~ page 264

And - the exchange that stopped my in my tracks and got me really thinking about love and why we hang on to hurt:

"Do you like thinking about Mom?
Does it hurt after?
Then why do you continue to do it? she asked." ~ page 92

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