This is the story of Oskar Schell, a young boy who is on a quest around New York City, attempting to solve a mystery left in the wake of his father’s death in the 9/11 attacks. The story is told in the form of narratives, letters, and journal entries from the perspective of three individuals, and their interwoven stories are revealed expertly in parallel. The book works as a scrapbook, with the reader discovering elements from the story appearing on the pages, as though they had been pasted in.
The best part of this book is the people you meet, and the stories they tell. Oskar meets a great number of people around the city, and each offers a delightful kernel of his or her life. Alongside these quick glimpses are stories and asides presented by the major characters, not necessarily relevant but always illuminating. Every anecdote is a gem that begs to be savored, and I often found myself setting down the book so I could digest.
This, I believe, is my absolute favorite book. I recommend it to everybody. Written by Jonathan Safran Foer, I believe it to be far superior to Everything is Illuminated.