Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The problem with many of the new Jewish writers (Englander, Shteyngart, Vapnyar etc) is that they manage to put together a fairly successful promising debut… and then vanish. Jonathan Safran Foer is the first among them to actually publish the second book, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” I haven’t read it yet, but the reviews are popping up all over and are quite mixed. But the mere fact that New Yorker got John Updike to review it, makes me want to run and get the damn thing. The Times piece came out just now. I don’t know what to make of it, frankly, but perhaps this quote sums it up best:

No traditional story could put forward the tritenesses that Foer reshuffles, folds, cuts into strips, seals in seven separate envelopes and then, astonishingly, makes whole, causing the audience to ooh and aah over notions that used to make it groan.

Really helps, doesn’t it? Well, in any case, check out the first chapter of the novel, and, for the sake of contrast, dig the first chapter of his debut, Everything is Illuminated (I personally thought this was the best part of the book).

6 thoughts on “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

  1. I don’t know about the others, but Shteyngart hasn’t disappeared. It takes time to write a book, especially if he doesn’t want to churn out a sloppy sophomore effort. But I’ve heard he’s finishing up his second book now. I think he’s scheduled to do a reading in NYC soon (or in the recent past?).

    Featuring Gary Shteyngart who will read from his next novel, Absurdistan, which is forthcoming in 2006 and Joshua Cohen who will read from his short story, “The Trial.” Cosponsored by the 14th Street Y and the Forward newspaper.
    Wed, April 13 @ 7PM
    KGB Bar (85 East 4th Street between 2nd & 3rd Avenues), http://www.kgbbar.com

  3. Yeah, I just got that Novel Jews email also. That’s really great that Shteyngart is still in the race (and we’ll see how good the new book is). Do you know who the publisher is? Gotto get my hands on the galley.

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