Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safer Foer and A History of Love by Nicole Krauss were published in 2005 within a few months of each other. After listening to each novel recently on my commute to work, I was struck by the similarities.
Both novels incorporate aspects of “magical realism,” depict a quest by a child and portray the lasting effects of World War II on the survivors who made it to New York after losing a childhood sweetheart. Each novel is told by multiple narrators, has parallel plot lines set in multiple times and mysteries that unravel themselves as the plot progresses. Both have satisfying conclusion to boot!
Have Jonathan Safer Foer and Nicole Krauss written the same book.? They are married, and they deny that they even read each other’s manuscripts before they were finished. One can imagine them sitting in the same room, each at his/her own computer, channeling each other’s plots, characters and setting. I did a little googling, and this is what I found:
The two were introduced to one another by their Dutch publisher, well after their books were written. Chalk it all up to magic.
Of course they aren’t really the same book, but they are both poignant and engaging stories well worth reading, and especially listening to for the dramatic effects of the change in narrators.
Can anyone else come up with a favorite pair of books which complement each other so well, either deliberately or randomly?
~Beth K, Broadview