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Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by…

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

by Jonathan Safran Foer

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
12,052381214 (4.11)283
Title:Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Authors:Jonathan Safran Foer
Info:Boston : Mariner Books, c2005.
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, ALA Notable Book, 9/11, New York City, grief

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 283 mentions

English (350)  Dutch (12)  French (5)  Danish (5)  Swedish (3)  Italian (3)  German (2)  Catalan (1)  All languages (381)
Showing 1-5 of 350 (next | show all)
I thought it was a good, but heart wrenching story.
  Vinbert | Nov 22, 2015 |
I thought it was a good, but heart wrenching story.
  Vinbert | Nov 22, 2015 |
By the end of the first paragraph, I realized that READING this book wouldn't be enough . . I needed to HEAR it being read in order to fully appreciate what I knew would be a wild ride! And, a wild ride it was!

I've read thousands of books in my (almost) sixty-three years; as I age, I've found that audioBooks add a welcome dimension to my reading experience. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was the first time I'd combined the two "approaches" . . LISTENING to the audioBook, while READING along, is the ONLY way I'd recommend "experiencing" this book - regardless of age!

As the mom and grandma, of amazingly precocious children, I found myself loving Oskar Schell from page one forward. Oskar's insatiable curiousity, gatling gun presentation and kaliediscopic thought processes were familiar and dear to my heart.

The excellent audiobook narrators allowed me to easily track the numerous interwoven storylines and the print version allowed me to experience, and appreciate, the full range of Jonathan Safran Foer's unique writing approach. Many of his visual writing techniques (photographs, scribbles, a flipbook!) and various and sundry other "modernistic" approaches were blasted by (some) critics; I say, pshaw!! I haven't enjoyed such a stimulating "visual reading experience" since Nick Bantok's epistolary novels, The Griffin and Sabine Trilogy.

This review, such as it is, doesn't speak to plot or story; suffice it to say, I liked Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close . . a lot! ( )
  idajo2 | Nov 3, 2015 |
A beautiful, creative work; often criticized in the 'literary' media for it's main strength--it's unabashed sincerity.

In this day and age of ironic-I'm-too-cool-for-school-hispterism posteruring, Foer laid it all out there for the world to judge.

Rather than being a '9/11' book, EL&IC is more a love letter to a remarkable and magical place, New York City.

It takes elements of meta-fiction, magical realism, and just sheer quirky imagination to remind the reader why we exist; it will make you fall in love with life all over again. ( )
  VladVerano | Oct 20, 2015 |
This is the third time I have read this book and I like it more each time. In previous reviews, I have given it four stars, but I feel compelled to change that to five! My heart aches for Oskar and the ways in which he deals with the horrific pain of losing his father in the World Trade Center bombings on 9/11. This was a re-read for book club, but I will probably read it again just for pleasure. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 350 (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 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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