A friend of mine laid this book on my desk and said "you've got to read this". Something in the way she said it made me take notice, and it was buried in my "to read" pile till just recently.
When I started reading it, I was immediately impressed with the writing style. It's pretty much stream of consciousness style, and I really related to that. It also was so clever and profound and emotional that it touched me deeply.
The book was written in 2005, and was one of the first novels about the terrorist attack of September 11th. Jonathan Foer brings a multimedia approach to this book using different type settings, spaces, and even blank pages to give the book a visual dimension beyond the written prose. There is even a little flip book effect at the end of the book, that uses the famous falling man picture from 9/11, to really bring home the emotional thrust of the end of the story.
The book's narrator is a precocious 9 year old boy named Oskar Schell. Oskar lost his father in the 9/11 disaster and is depressed and traumatized. He is overeducated and over sensitive. Oskar searches New York for the lock that matches a key his father left behind. This quest weaves together Oskar's story and the story of his grandparents whose lives were destroyed by the fire bombing of Dresden.
Throughout the novel Foer uses images to connect ideas and themes. I truly loved this compelling, extremely moving, and beautifully written book. My heart soared while I read it, and my mind raced with all the ideas it contained.