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Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (original 2005; edition 2005)

by Jonathan Safran Foer

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11,520365233 (4.12)270
Member:sandykaypax
Title:Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Authors:Jonathan Safran Foer
Info:Hamish Hamilton (2005), Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fiction

Work details

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

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» See also 270 mentions

English (336)  Dutch (11)  Danish (5)  French (5)  Swedish (3)  Italian (2)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (364)
Showing 1-5 of 336 (next | show all)
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 |
Had an interesting collection of pictures and word painting to add to the story. ( )
  laverack | Jul 14, 2014 |
A boy struggles with the loss of his father in the Twin Towers. Foer's technique of pushing the boundaries of reality draws on the tradition of Kafka and Grass. I found the book quite moving. ( )
  robinamelia | Jun 19, 2014 |
Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is an inventor, amateur entomologist, Francophile, letter writer, pacifist, natural historian, percussionist, romantic, Great Explorer, jeweller, detective, vegan, and collector of butterflies. When his father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre, Oskar sets out to solve the mystery of a key he discovers in his father's closet. It is a search which leads him into the lives of strangers, through the five boroughs of New York, into history, to the bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima, and on an inward journey which brings him ever closer to some kind of peace.

Oskar Schell comes across as being both autistic and/or simply an exceptionally brilliant child. If it weren't for the book's description I'm not sure I ever would have known Oskar's exact age, only an approximate range. If he is supposed to be autistic he would certainly be considered high functioning; he has some personality traits that are formidable, as well as others that are blindly naive. Yet for all his questions and observational skills, he keeps missing the obvious. Maybe that is an intentional storytelling device on Foer's part, or perhaps it is simply appropriate for the character's age.

I found the way the book bounced between voices/points of view to be somewhat confusing, in part because it sometimes took a bit to determine who the narrator was at that moment, or because the narrator was so hard to follow to begin with. Oskar's grandfather, Thomas, was often the most challenging to follow due to his personal issues. But then again, the way Foer handled conversations was also a bit of a challenge in places, thanks to his penchant for having entire conversations flow without ever naming the speaker more than once. So the reader is swimming in a sea of quotation marks, rarely a name in sight to help keep them afloat.

While the story is sad, and at times entertaining, I often found it to be teetering on edge of being more effort than was worth the reward. That makes it a personal challenge, as well as setting it up so that I want to see if the ending is worth all the work put into getting there. As of now I remain undecided. After some time away from the book to reflect, I find myself feeling more friendly toward it. For all the Oskar is a handful, there are certainly parts of him that are relatable, and some things that are universal to all children. Of course he expresses those things differently than his peers, but that is part of his naive charm.

The history and stories are wonderful, so full of emotion that it's like you are living them yourself as opposed to hearing about them. I deeply appreciated the way Foer handled 9/11 and all of the issues it brought up for everyone (and I'm certain still does today). He didn't shy away from it, nor did he wallow in shocking aspects simply to get an easy reaction from the reader. He was as tactful as a hyper-intelligent 11-year-old boy can be, which oddly enough was more tactful than many adults even today.

In my opinion this was a very aptly named book. The title suits the stories on numerous levels, and while the two parts of the title are issues for me, this was a good way to help explore my own personal foibles, all the while learning other methods of coping via the experiences of Oskar and all those he interacts with throughout the story. This is a good book to read when you want to learn something new about yourself. I suspect that no matter how many times a person were to read it, they'd take away something new each time. ( )
  Isisunit | May 30, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 336 (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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Epigraph
Dedication
For
NICOLE,
my idea of beautiful
First words
What about a teakettle?
Quotations
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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Wikipedia in English (1)

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.
Haiku summary

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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