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

by Jonathan Safran Foer

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
12,334391205 (4.1)284
Member:luceroma
Title:Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Authors:Jonathan Safran Foer
Info:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2005), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:literature, 9-11

Work details

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

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    BookshelfMonstrosity: The precocious young narrators in each of these novels embark on journeys alone, providing illustrations to enhance their complex narratives, which include family history as well as current concerns. T. S. travels across the U.S, while Oskar travels throughout New York City.… (more)
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» See also 284 mentions

English (359)  Dutch (12)  French (5)  Danish (5)  Swedish (3)  Italian (3)  German (2)  Catalan (1)  All languages (390)
Showing 1-5 of 359 (next | show all)
This book is a story of a young boy whose father died in the twin towers on the morning of September 11th. Jonathan finds a key with the label “Black” in a vase in his father’s closet that he wants to understand the meaning of. The story follows Jonathan as he goes on a secret to find the meaning and connection that the key has with his father.
  KristenSchmidt | Apr 14, 2016 |
Oskar Schell, the precocious 9 year old son of Thomas Schell, is a the main character who was left fatherless after Thomas died int he 9/11 attacks. He is fighting through his depressed feelings, which he often calls wearing heavy boots.

Oskar and his father had a game in which Thomas would send Oskar on a detective mission. The last game sent Oskar to Central Park to solve a very vague riddle. His father died before the riddle was solved. This was one reason that, when Oskar finds a key in an envelope with the word "Black" written on it in his father's closet, he sees it as a clue that needed to be investigated. Oskar heads out on an adventure to question everyone with the last name of Black in NYC about this key.

During his journey Oskar meets many who take him and listen to his inquiries about the key. Oskar is also very close to his grandmother who tells her own story of loss during this novel. She writes to Oskar (and Oskar's Grandfather writes to his Thomas) about how her husband, Oskar's grandfather, was in love with her sister. Her sister tragically dies in the Dresden bombing and the grandfather starts to lose his nerves. By the time the grandmother and the grandfather find each other again the grandfather can no longer speak. The two love each other but the grandfather is unable to cope with his emotions and he walks out on his pregnant wife. He comes back upon their son's death.

Oskar finds the owner of the key by the end of the book and discovers that it did not belong to his father after all. He also tells the man whose key it was that his father left messages that he found on the answering machine from the last minutes he survived in the WTC. Oskar also finds out that his mother has known about his adventures the entire time and has been contacting the Blacks before he arrives and prepares them to give him a warm welcome.
  jtp146 | Feb 14, 2016 |
I don't know what to say about this book without being too sappy. I really loved it. Parts of it were painful, and all of it was sad, but it was also sweet and insightful and brilliant. I'm definitely going to pick up something else by Foer soon.
  mirikayla | Feb 8, 2016 |
It was a bit hard to follow with flashbacks and different narrators. Realistic presentation of effects of trauma on a child. ( )
  Suziere | Jan 24, 2016 |
I really liked this one. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 359 (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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Dedication
For
NICOLE,
my idea of beautiful
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:34 -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)

» see all 12 descriptions

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