Only nine years of age and yet is he ready to explore for him unknown areas of the humongous city New York just to find the other half of a puzzle his father left behind. Oskar Schell is an inventor, he makes jewellery and sends letters to famous scientists. Through his eyes you witness an adventure you have not experienced before. Jonathan Safran Foer found a way to write a story about a nine year old and intrigue people from every generation with it. You would think how could a book about a nine year old be so moving and beautiful. He made it possible. Telling about two horrific incidents which happened to two different generations in one single family and how they cope with the happenings gives us a brilliantly written book about grief, depression and emotional moments.
One night when Oskar is looking around the apartment he by accident breaks a blue vase, which contains an envelope with the word Black written on it. In this envelope he finds a key that does not fit in any lock in his house. Thinking this was the last clue his father hid for him on his last quest. Oskar gives himself the task of finding the lock the key belongs to. With the word on the envelope Oskar finds that he will need to visit more than 200 people with the name Black spread out through whole New York. Estimating it will take over a year to visit all of them. As the story moves one he meets numbers of interesting people who cope with love and loss differently. They all have their own story about how they lost someone or once loved someone.
The other side of the story is about Oskar his grandparents. They both also experienced some traumatic incident when they where young. They both lived in Dresden, Germany and at that time World War II was ending, so a lot of cities where bombed by the Americans. Also Dresden was bombed at that time, the both lived there and lost their families. Years later they met again and get married and move to New York in hope of forgetting about he past. Grandpa sends letters to his then unborn son, Thomas Schell, Oskar his dad, trying to explain why he was not there when Thomas grew up. Grandma her letters where written to Oskar and in these she writes her life story.
Next to Oskar his story this gives an impression of how difficult it must have been for the whole family to live on. Foer tells the story in a way that it could be a story that actually happened. From the young kid that explores the whole of New York on his own to his depressed mother who does not seem to care a lot about Oskar and then his grandmother who lost a son and her husband ran off when she was pregnant. A horrible life that nobody deserves to live.
Foer made the impossible possible, he wrote about grief and depression and turned it into a marvellous book. Involving the black day in history 9/11, which people find it hard to think about and wish never anything like that will happen again. He writes in such a style that is not difficult at all and not formal so it is meant for all kinds of readers. You read through the book with such ease that the rather depressing story seems livelier than it is.
This novel tells that even in hard times when the worst happens it is worth it to live on because other great things will happen and these will help you to cope with you pain.