The roar of the twin towers collapsing. The last sound nine-year-old Oskar hears from his doomed father’s mobile. Blasting his trumpet Oscar wanders New York with a key found in his father’s closet, seeking a more bearable 9/11 tale, perhaps hidden behind one lock in the city’s 162 million. Here, connect to another Oskar in Grass’ “The Tin Drum.” Both children explore their centuries’ defining holocausts. Underlining comparison Foer inserts hyperbolic subplots and damaged characters linked to World War II. Among these, coincidence counts Oscar’s grandparents.
Foer uses acrobatic prose tricks to draw the reader in. Meanwhile, grainy out of focus photographs suggest time’s elusive… even reversible quality? As Oscar tries his key we begin to hope, with him, that one door might magically open, and give closure to that 9/11 story.