As the dual stories of the disaster in New York with the twin towers and the bombing of Dresden in the Second World War open up there is a clever overlap of the story lines between generations.
The link is the grandmother but as the grandfather comes back on the scene she is often communicating with him when Oskar believes she is talking to him. You only start to get the sense of overlapping and clever interweaving as the story unfolds.
It bugs slightly that the grandfather is unable to talk and writes everything down. Okay it is a response to grief but it makes an already heavily stylised book kilter too much in the direction of being too clever for its own good.
What keeps you going is not just the interest in finding out how Oskar’s search for the owner of the key ends but also how the child comes to terms with the loss of his father. Put his weirdness, again overdone, to one side and there is someone in a great deal of pain here.
Last chunk tomorrow…