Author Jonathan Safran Foer never set out to write Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the story of a nine-year-old boy whose father dies in the 9/11 attacks on New York City. Foer had been working on a novel about a writer in Eastern Europe in the 1920s, but somehow that story morphed into Extremely Loud as his interests and, more important, the world around him changed. Coming to the Houston Public Library as part of the 2nd Annual Gulf Coast Reads Closing Celebration, Foer will discuss and sign Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. The book was the focus for this year's series of events, which included screenings of the Tom Hanks-Sandra Bullock film based on Foer's story, group discussions and a readers' theater performance.
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In interviews at the time of the book's 2005 release, Foer said he wrote 39 distinct drafts, the first and the last having seemingly nothing in common — not characters, themes or plot elements. Seemingly. In fact, all of Foer's writings, including his first novel, Everything Is Illuminated, have dealt with loss and the ways people cope with it. In Extremely Loud, the central character, Oskar Schell, copes with losing his father by searching out the story behind a cryptic note and key he finds among his late father's possessions.
Sat., Oct. 27, 2 p.m., 2012