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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: A Novel…

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: A Novel (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Jonathan Safran Foer

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11,751368225 (4.11)275
Title:Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: A Novel
Authors:Jonathan Safran Foer
Info:Mariner Books (2006), Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:@own: to be read

Work details

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (2005)

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» See also 275 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 337 (next | show all)

My expectations were really high on this one! Many people told me just how much they enjoyed this book and how special it was.

For myself, I had to admit that I did like the title.

In the beginning I had to get used to the style and the use of different types throughout the story. After some time, that was fine, though not as great as I had hoped for. The story is a search in which I believed some steps were a bit too convenient for our main character. I found it interesting to read about the aftermath of 9/11, the effects it had on the people involved.

Overall, I liked reading it, but as happens quite often, when you have such great expectations, reality can't live up to it. ( )
  Floratina | Jan 4, 2015 |
The novels of Jonathan Safran Foer are more than just engaging stories; they are puzzles whose pieces are laid out in non-linear fashion from multiple perspectives over many generations. Although one large story is being told, it takes much attention by the reader to grasp all the small pieces that will eventually drop into place by the final chapter. And even then, some pieces just might not fit the story at large. This, too, is okay. For the stories told by Foer are masterful and seem to be getting better with each new attempt.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close tells the larger story of a child trying to come to terms with the death of his father, who perished in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. In an effort to hold onto what he can, the boy, Oskar, finds a key inside a blue vase hidden in his father’s closet, and with only one clue he begins a trek across New York City to find the lock that fits the key. He assumes this key is part of a game that his father was going to present to him, as the two have played such games throughout the boy’s life, but without his dad’s assistance, the task is monumental. Since Oskar desperately needs to hold onto everything that will remind him of his dad, he is determined to work his way through every single lock that the key might fit. And there begins the story.

In between the chapters of Oskar’s search, we meet his grandmother and grandfather, both of whom are survivors of the bombing to Dresden, Germany, during World War II, and throughout the book we are taken on a journey with these two until all three stories converge at the end. In this respect, Extremely Loud is much like Foer’s previous novel, Everything Is Illuminated, but the heart of the second novel is much more relatable and straightforward. The thread that runs from the Dresden tragedy to the World Trade Center tragedy is much stronger than I first anticipated. And each reflection on Dresden seemed to place even more weight on the recent events. Foer chose exactly the right imagery and emotions and words to speak about something that is still so very delicate and sensitive to Americans. And in using a child to speak directly on the subject, somehow it seemed appropriate to revisit that day. Though not less heartbreaking.

Despite the core of the novel, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close does not have a sad tone. There are times that it is heavy, of course, but there are times of great humor and great fun. Oskar’s quest is enjoyable and a plausible mystery, and the story of the grandparents is astounding, to say the least. Above all, though, this is a story of humanity in the face of tragedy. And that alone makes this book worth anyone’s investment.

( )
  phrenetic.mind | Dec 30, 2014 |
Man, did this book make me wear heavy boots. I'm probably going to be wearing them for a few days after finishing this.

Oskar lost his father in the 9/11 attacks. Much like [b:The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time|1618|The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time|Mark Haddon|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327882682s/1618.jpg|4259809], he is a young boy trying to solve a mystery that really holds deeper meaning to understanding his entire life. But, this isn’t just Oskar’s journey through grief; this is also about Oskar’s grandmother, grandfather, and his mother, too.

Is it uniquely written and a little gimmicky? Yes, but it worked for the narrative. Unique like Oskar, like his grandfather, like his grandmother, the different parts of the book fit together to tell the story of a family who have experienced and endured grief, joy, and all of the other parts of life that make it special.

I hesitate to say more, and urge you to experience this story for yourself. ( )
  GovMarley | Oct 7, 2014 |
One of the best books I have read in a long time. I believe it has made it to my top 10 and possibly even my top 5. His characters are so well written and unique. So many things spoke to me in this book... things I experienced but I couldn't express and Jonathan Safran Foer put them into the words that I never could. I would recommend this book to EVERYONE. I finished it quickly and it saddened me when I turned that last page. Ending a good book is terrible because you know you won't have that wonderful experience for a very long time. This is what this book does, it gives you that feeling... the feeling of loss, loss over an excellent reading experience that only happens a few times in your life. Pick it up, read it and love it... you won't regret it, I promise you. ( )
1 vote yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
scrivere sotto l'effetto di allucinogeni, ok...
dargli un'occhiatina anche da sobrio prima di pubblicarlo, però! ( )
  sam.amadei | Jul 31, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 337 (next | show all)
The bigger problem is that Foer never lets his character wander off without an errand.

In fact, there is hardly a line in this book that has not been written for the purpose of eliciting a particular emotion from the reader. The novel is a tearjerker. ...The skepticism and satire that marked the best parts of Everything Is Illuminated are nowhere in evidence here.
added by jburlinson | editNew York Review of Books, Keith Gessen (pay site) (Sep 25, 2005)
The search for the lock that fits a mysterious key dovetails with related and parallel quests in this (literally) beautifully designed second novel from the gifted young author (Everything Is Illuminated, 2002). The searcher is nine-year-old Oskar Schell, an inventive prodigy who (albeit modeled on the protagonist of Grass's The Tin Drum) employs his considerable intellect with refreshing originality in the aftermath of his father Thomas's death following the bombing of the World Trade Center. That key, unidentified except for the word "black" on the envelope containing it, impels Oskar to seek out every New Yorker bearing the surname Black, involving him with a reclusive centenarian former war correspondent, and eventually the nameless elderly recluse who rents a room in his paternal grandma's nearby apartment. Meanwhile, unmailed letters from a likewise unidentified "Thomas" reveal their author's loneliness and guilt, while stretching backward to wartime Germany and a horrific precursor of the 9/11 atrocity: the firebombing of Dresden. In a riveting narrative animated both by Oskar's ingenuous assumption of adult responsibility and understanding (interestingly, he's "playing Yorick" in a school production of Hamlet) and the letter-writer's meaningful silences, Foer sprinkles his tricky text with interpolated illustrations that render both the objects of Oskar's many interests and the memories of a survivor who has forsworn speech, determined to avoid the pain of loving too deeply. The story climaxes as Oskar discovers what the key fits, and also the meaning of his life (all our lives, actually), in a long-awaited letter from astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. Much more is revealed as this brilliant fiction works thrilling variations on, and consolations for, its plangent message: that "in the end, everyone loses everyone." Yes, but look what Foer has found. Film rights to Scott Rudin in conjunction with Warner Bros. and Paramount; author tour.
added by cmwilson101 | editKirkus Reviews

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jonathan Safran Foerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baardman, GerdaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bocchiola, MassimoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Caruso, BarbaraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferrone, RichardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nilsson, Hans-JacobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stheeman, TjadineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woodman, JeffNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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my idea of beautiful
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What about a teakettle?
I wondered for the first time in my life, if life was worth all the work it took to live. What exactly made it worth it?

So many people enter and leave your life! Hundreds of thousands of people! You have to keep the door open so they can come in! But it also means you have to let them go!
Shyness is when you turn your head away from something you want. Shame is when you turn your head away from something you do not want.
Time was passing like a hand waving from a train I wanted to be on.
Everything was a clue.
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Book description
This is story of Oskar Schell. His dad was in the 9/11 tragedy and Oskar is still recovering from the loss of his father and the guilt for having not answered the phone when his dad called. ELIC follows Oskar's adventure through New York looking for the lock he believed was left behind for him to find. It is a story of healing not only for Oskar but also for the people in his life and the people he meets along the way.

I really really liked this book. It was a style completely different from anything I had read before. It made me cry. That's why it doesn't 5 stars. It was a really good story and I'm glad I bought it.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618711651, Paperback)

Jonathan Safran Foer emerged as one of the most original writers of his generation with his best-selling debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated. Now, with humor, tenderness, and awe, he confronts the traumas of our recent history.

Nine-year-old Oskar Schell has embarked on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five boroughs of New York. His goal is to find the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11. This seemingly impossible task will bring Oskar into contact with survivors of all sorts on an exhilarating, affecting, often hilarious, and ultimately healing journey.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:41:20 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A new novel by the author of Everything Is Illuminated introduces Oskar Schell, the nine-year-old son of a man killed in the World Trade Center bombing who searches the city for a lock that fits a black key his father left behind. Jonathan Safran Foer emerged as one of the most original writers of his generation with his best-selling debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated. Now, with humor, tenderness, and awe, he confronts the traumas of our recent history. What he discovers is solace in that most human quality, imagination. Meet Oskar Schell, an inventor, Francophile, tambourine player, Shakespearean actor, jeweler, pacifist, correspondent with Stephen Hawking and Ringo Starr. He is nine years old. And he is on an urgent, secret search through the five boroughs of New York. His mission is to find the lock that fits a mysterious key belonging to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. An inspired innocent, Oskar is alternately endearing, exasperating, and hilarious as he careens from Central Park to Coney Island to Harlem on his search. Along the way he is always dreaming up inventions to keep those he loves safe from harm. What about a birdseed shirt to let you fly away? What if you could actually hear everyone's heartbeat? His goal is hopeful, but the past speaks a loud warning in stories of those who've lost loved ones before. As Oskar roams New York, he encounters a motley assortment of humanity who are all survivors in their own way. He befriends a 103-year-old war reporter, a tour guide who never leaves the Empire State Building, and lovers enraptured or scorned. Ultimately, Oskar ends his journey where it began, at his father's grave. But now he is accompanied by the silent stranger who has been renting the spare room of his grandmother's apartment. They are there to dig up his father's empty coffin.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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