When I read Everything is Illuminated, it wasn’t so much that I liked the book, I found Jonathan Safran Foer to be an incredible writer. The book is intriguing not only from the story line but also that the author is young and this is a pretty big book on many levels. An amazing debut but all I could think about when I finished the book is the future books he will write. Everything is Illuminated was a tough read.
In the meantime, I decided to read Nicole Krauss. Her second book is called The History of Love. I really enjoyed this book for a variety of reasons. The characters are fascinating as they are woven together through the book which goes back and forth from present day and WWII Eastern Europe. A true love story. After finishing the book, I have been thinking about reading her first novel for some time. I really enjoy reading first novels and then following the authors work. For anyone who has ever read my blog, classics are not my thing.
After reading The History of Love, Jonathan Safran Foer came out with his second novel called Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Figuring that he was older and less verbose and more focused for his second novel, I was really looking forward to it. I loved the book. It is a post 9/11 story of a boy who loses his father in the towers and over the course of many months (maybe it was a year) goes through the process of healing through an endless journey of finding answers to what happened to his father. He hunts from one end of the city to the other. Throughout this book there are also characters that are woven together through stories of the past with stories of the present that in the end, all come together. Similar to Krauss. What is interesting is that Krauss and Foer are married.
Whenever I recommend these two books, I always say to read them back to back. I find couples or partners fascinating. Ones that have known each other long enough that they finish each other sentences. I wonder if Krauss and Foer sit in their Brooklyn home and discuss what they have written or are thinking of writing. There writing is similar in some regards. The weaving of the past and present. The Jewish characters mostly from Eastern Europe that were tainted from Hitlers reign.
I finally picked up Nicole Krauss’s first novel, Man Walks Into A Room. I was taken in after the first page. She certainly has an incredible imagination and gift for writing beautiful prose. The premise is a man ( 36 years old ) is found wandering through the Nevada desert, he has no idea who he is. It ends up that he is married and is a professor at Columbia University. He has a small brain tumor that is pressing on a part of his brain. Once it is removed he has lost all memory from 12 years old an onward. How he deals with that or does he care? It is an interesting journey of how his life changes and the interest he has in getting his memories back. Very clever and insightful.
Such a pleasure finding two young novelists who write so well, with intriguing tales wonderfully written knowing that they hopefully have many novels yet to come.