Editor’s Note

“Emotionally gripping…”

This stunning story of a precocious nine-year old boy, who struggles with issues of loss and family, captured the attention of a nation grappling with the aftermath of the attacks on 9/11.
Scribd Editor

From the Publisher

Jonathan Safran Foer emerged as one of the most original writers of his generation with his best-selling debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated. Now, with humor, tenderness, and awe, he confronts the traumas of our recent history. What he discovers is solace in that most human quality, imagination.
Meet Oskar Schell, an inventor, Francophile, tambourine player, Shakespearean actor, jeweler, pacifist, correspondent with Stephen Hawking and Ringo Starr. He is nine years old. And he is on an urgent, secret search through the five boroughs of New York. His mission is to find the lock that fits a mysterious key belonging to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11.
An inspired innocent, Oskar is alternately endearing, exasperating, and hilarious as he careens from Central Park to Coney Island to Harlem on his search. Along the way he is always dreaming up inventions to keep those he loves safe from harm. What about a birdseed shirt to let you fly away? What if you could actually hear everyone's heartbeat? His goal is hopeful, but the past speaks a loud warning in stories of those who've lost loved ones before. As Oskar roams New York, he encounters a motley assortment of humanity who are all survivors in their own way. He befriends a 103-year-old war reporter, a tour guide who never leaves the Empire State Building, and lovers enraptured or scorned. Ultimately, Oskar ends his journey where it began, at his father's grave. But now he is accompanied by the silent stranger who has been renting the spare room of his grandmother's apartment. They are there to dig up his father's empty coffin.

Topics: Grief, Death, Childhood, Coming of Age, Fathers, Terrorism, World War II, September 11, Made into a Movie, Family, Judaism, Trauma, Journeys, Family Secrets, Poignant, Touching, Tragic, Whimsical, Stream of Consciousness, First Person Narration, Magical Realism, New York City, Germany, New York, and Bildungsroman

Published: Mariner Books an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on
ISBN: 9780547416212
List price: $14.95
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