Jonathan Safran Foer is one of my favorite authors. I came to know his work after watching and falling in love with the film adaptation of his debut novel, starring Elijah Wood and Eugene Hütz. I’m typically one of those people that doesn’t like coming around to a book by way of the movie, believing quite staunchly that books are always superior, but in this case, I am grateful for the reference.
Of all the memorable moments in Everything is Illuminated, these words stand out to me especially:
“Hershel did not possess a family of his own. He was not such a special person. He loved to read very much, and also to write. He was a poet, and he exhibited me many of his poems. I remember many of them. They were silly, you could say, and about love. He was always in his room writing those things, and never with people. I used to tell him, What good is all that love doing on paper? I said, Let love write on you for a little. But he was so stubborn. Or perhaps he was only timid.”
And remarkably, Foer’s second novel had even more of a profound effect on me than his first. Perhaps as a result of the simplicity of the story, told from the perspective of a young boy… perhaps due to the boldness and creativity of the typography and overall personality of the book, I have given this novel as a gift multiple times, read it myself multiple times, and cannot recommend it highly enough to those still in the dark.
A simple Google search will displays loads of quotable dialogue from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which I think speaks to Foer’s ability to be meaningful and significant through any lense or perspective. However, as before, one moment hit me harder than the others… and has stuck with me ever since:
“We slept in the same bed. There was never a right time to say it. It was always unnecessary. I thought about waking her. But it was unnecessary. There would be other nights. And how can you say I love you to someone you love? I rolled onto my side and fell asleep next to her. Here is the point of everything I have been trying to tell you, Oskar. It’s always necessary.“