How do you tell someone you love that you’re dying? Or leaving?
Safran Foer explores this through the adventures of Oskar Schell, a nine-year old who lost his father when the Twin Towers came crashing down. Oskar hides his Dad’s final voice mails from his mum, to protect her. He keeps his memories of his dad alive by searching out clues to a quest he believes his dad left him. Oskar’s grandfather writes tons of letters, and pretends everything is the same. Oskar’s grandmother cried her tears dry, and Oskar’s mum hides her tears.
Episodes kept repeating, but that made the characters’ grief process more real, like how I’d replay scenes in my head, scenes that I don’t want to forget, or just can’t. And Foer’s use of colours and text spacing told the story. What struck me most was when the words in a letter started getting squashed together, finally becoming one big black mass – too many words, too little space.
The book was a refreshing read, and I’m glad to have stumbled on it. A trailer for the TV premiere intrigued me enough to pick up the book, and I’m glad it delivered, after some other media darlings disappointed. The only down side is the narrative gets a little slow and repetitive at times, though that served its purpose at the end.
Mimosa’s rating: 3.5/5