I finished reading Jonathan Safran Foer‘s second novel today. It’s called Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. It’s about a kid who’s father dies in one of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11. He finds something among his father’s possessions that leads him to believe that there’s someone out there who knows something about his father that he doesn’t, and basically he’s a kid who misses his father so much that he wants to know everything about his father. So without giving anything away, he spends most of the book looking for this stranger who might provide him with some insights about his dead father. I’m not going to lie about: I wasn’t enthralled by the story or the writing. I was able to put the book down for days and start where I left off without losing the feel of the story, mainly because it didn’t have much of a feel for me. I skimmed through more than a few portions of the book. It didn’t grab me, but I kept reading because I wasn’t completely disinterested in it. Then everything changed near the end of the book in the chapter that begins on page 285. Something happens in that chapter that is so truthful and so real and so sad and tragic and insane, and honest, it cut to the bone like no moment I’ve experienced in a novel for a long time. Earlier today I tried to describe the scene to someone, and a shiver went through me as I thought about it. Anyway, that made it for me. That scene will likely stay with me for the rest of my life. What a moment. So that’s it. Mission accomplished. I say job well done to Jonathan Safran Foer. That moment killed me. It knocked me out and moved me. And did it without being a depressing downer of a story. Anyone who can have that affect on me is doing something right.
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