This month's pick was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,Jonathan Safran Foer's second novel. (He also wrote Everything is Illuminated,which i haven't read, but it was a delightful movie.)
The narrator is a precocious nine-year-old, who lost his father on 9/11. He uncovers a mysterious key among his father's things and sets out across New York's five boroughs to discover what kind of secret it unlocks about his dad.
The book is slightly reminiscent of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius in that it's not always linear and it's told partly in pictures, letters, and wild imaginings. It isn't nearly as interesting or funny as that book, but I did like it. The story and presentation are creative, and my heart broke for lonely, grieving Oskar and his strange and disconnected family.
The book introduces more questions than it answers, and it has no tidy resolution, but that seemed appropriate for a book that is largely about grief. The characters are quirky, engaging, and various degrees of broken.
Even though the novel is fictional, it is the first personal story about 9/11 that I've encountered in a while, and there was something good about remembering, however painful.
I'd recommend Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. It wasn't the best thing I've ever read, but the story drew me in, and I finished it in two days. I'd like to read Foer's first novel. Other reviews can be found over at Walking Upside Down.