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

by Jonathan Safran Foer

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
11,289None246 (4.12)264
Member:pinklady60
Title:Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Authors:Jonathan Safran Foer
Info:Boston : Mariner Books, c2005.
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:fiction, ALA Notable Book, 9/11, New York City, grief

Work details

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

(31) 21st century (54) 9/11 (721) America (46) American (110) American literature (100) book club (49) childhood (76) coming of age (58) contemporary (67) contemporary fiction (69) death (126) Dresden (50) family (148) favorite (36) favorites (34) fiction (1,122) grief (156) literature (69) loss (93) New York (314) New York City (169) novel (178) own (62) read (162) Roman (55) to-read (179) unread (59) USA (68) WWII (38)
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» See also 264 mentions

English (334)  Dutch (11)  Danish (5)  French (5)  Swedish (3)  Italian (2)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (362)
Showing 1-5 of 334 (next | show all)
Having lived in New Jersey on 9/11 I remember feeling, seeing and thinking some of the same things Oskar did. However, I didn't lose a parent, nor am I a savant, but I understand the need to find answers when something like this happens. Jonathan Foer is an extremely talented writer--I could visualize Oskar's space, his grandmother, going to different boroughs.... Then I saw the movie, and was disappointed, of course. However, the book stands along and is worthy of great read. ( )
  obedah | Mar 26, 2014 |
I'm quite glad I got this book from the library first, instead of buying it. The story was difficult to follow and the writing style got very annoying. I quite liked some of the aspects of the novel, but in the end it really made no sense. The book became repetitive and confusing in many parts, and yet were enlightening and sincere in others. It's hard to really review this book because of how conflicted I am about it. ( )
  Dnaej | Mar 14, 2014 |
I'm quite glad I got this book from the library first, instead of buying it. The story was difficult to follow and the writing style got very annoying. I quite liked some of the aspects of the novel, but in the end it really made no sense. The book became repetitive and confusing in many parts, and yet were enlightening and sincere in others. It's hard to really review this book because of how conflicted I am about it. ( )
  Dnaej | Mar 14, 2014 |
Moving, but not always believable.

This book had so many similarities to History of Love by Nicole Krauss, who is Jonathan Safran Foer's wife. I wasn't sure what to think of that. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 4, 2014 |
I read this book because it was indirectly recommended by members of a community to which I belong as being an awesome read. For me this was one of those books that was both the easiest, and the hardest thing that I've read in a long time. The story follows the search undertaken by nine year old Oskar after he finds a key that had belonged to his late father, (who died in the attack on 9/11), to find the lock that it fits, but as it unfolds we find that the narrative contains much more than just that 'simple' adventure.

The whole story is told through a series of linear narratives, flashbacks, and letters that are all interlinked and self-referring, and it seems, at first, hard to follow. The reader is left to make the determination of which flashbacks belong to whom, and in long passages of text, which pronoun belongs to what character. That said, if you stick with the book, everything begins to come together the closer you get to the end, and you're left reflecting back on what you've just read as if someone has just hit you over the head with a ten ton brick. The wall of confusion crumbles away, and all of the emotions that have been held back behind that wall come flooding in. As such it is one of the most powerfully moving and evocative books I think I have ever read, and yet still I feel I need to read it again to more fully understand the parts I know I missed.

One thing the reader must become accustomed to, is that Foer defies many expected literary conventions, especially concerning the formatting of speech, as he does not begin a new paragraph for each new speaker. Whilst at first I found this incredibly irritating and almost off-putting, it soon became second nature to ignore, and somehow enhanced the experience of reading a book that felt almost in the end like a journey through the mind and thoughts of the little boy out on his quest to find his answers – with his 'heavy boots' and the 'things he knows' all flowing around like flotsam and jetsam in an almost stream of consciousness-like telling.

So in the end, yes… an awesome book, one that I'm glad I read, and one which I hope to read again – or perhaps listen to. ( )
1 vote cedargrove | Jan 30, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 334 (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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People/Characters
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Important events
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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)

Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is a precocious Francophile who idolizes Stephen Hawking and plays the tambourine extremely well. He's also a boy struggling to come to terms with his father's death in the World Trade Center attacks. As he searches New York City for the lock that fits a mysterious key he left behind, Oskar discovers much more than he could have imagined.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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