Take a tragically dead father, a good-hearted but distracted mother, and a clever kid engaged in a mystery-solving quest around New York. Add weighty historical background, aging WWII survivors, some plot-driving letters/diary entries/manuscript fragments, and you have the constituents of not one novel but two: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer and The History of Love by his wife, Nicole Krauss.
One can only speculate as to what the couple was thinking when they made the decision–for this is no unwitting coincidence–to come out with sophomore novels obviously collaborative, so numerous are the similarities. Is it a cute postmodern joke? God knows Foer is fond of those. Or perhaps it’s a romantic statement: as we are joined in matrimony so is our work?
Based on the evidence, being married to Mr.Foer is work, and — if his relationship with Krauss is anything like his relationship with Solomon — we’re guessing that Krauss simply got distracted from her book’s original plot by JSF’s hundred daily “Deep Thoughts with Jack Handy” emails.