Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Book - 2005
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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 encountersa 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.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, c2005
ISBN: 9780618329700
0618329706
Branch Call Number: F FOE
Characteristics: 326 p. ; 24 cm

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PerthEastLibrary Nov 29, 2017

Perth East Public Library Book Club met last night to discuss this selection. Most found it hard to follow and took exception to the author's liberties taken with proper grammar. One member watched the movie then resumed with reading the book and was able to make more sense of things. It generated good discussion and we all shared what we were doing at the time we learned of the 9/11 tragedy.

HCL_staff_reviews Oct 09, 2017

A moving, creative and intriguing tale in which suspense, history, family, and humor all converge. Not enjoying tragedy, I largely avoid books and images about 9/11. So it was with trepidation that I picked up this novel in which a 9-year-old boy's father is killed in that event. But I am SO glad I did! Readers who enjoyed "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" will surely enjoy this, as the boys' voices are quite similar. — David L., Southdale Library

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jservilio
Aug 25, 2017

Beautifully written, insightful, and imaginative. His works, and this one is no exception, create constellations of events and characters and culminate in emotionally profound ways. Safran Foer is one of the contemporary greats.

SCL_Justin Jul 23, 2017

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is Jonathan Safran Foer’s September 11th novel. It’s about an odd boy whose father died in the World Trade Center. He finds a key in a vase with the word Black on it and decides to go talk to all the people with the surname black in New York. It takes 18 months. There’s also the story of his grandfather and grandmother layered in. It’s all right, but not something I’d rabidly recommend to someone who wasn’t specifically looking for a 9/11 story.

j
jeffi22
Apr 16, 2017

I actually saw the movie first, which was interesting; I liked the modern parts but not so much the historical/flashbacks/grandmother and Renter's stories. seemed to drag on. I would rate Oscar's narration as a 4 and the rest as a 2.The writing style is definitely interesting. Some of the twists in movie weren't in book, and vice versa; Ron wasn't in movie. Maybe I have short attention span, but felt movie was much cleaner/tighter!

t
TylerGroves
Sep 16, 2016

I feel a little overly critical of the book, but here's what I think; it reads like a 32 year old New Yorker trying to sound like a precocious 9 year old. It's not a bad book, but it's hard for me to overlook the ridiculousness of this narrator being a 9 year old. It's a touching story though, and it would have been much more enjoyable for me if it had been written in a way that didn't require the suspension of so much disbelief.

EDIT: Okay I finished the book and I enjoyed it as I progressed. The key (for me) was to stop expecting realistic depiction, and to read it as a 30-something New Yorker's own method of exploring childhood and tragedy. Maybe it's okay for books not to be realistic.

The book got me thinking about my own childhood. Usually that signifies success for me. Not bad Foer. You win this time...

s
shellarinelle
Jul 23, 2014

Other than the book being a required read, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close was a totally unique book. First of all, the book was told in 3 different perspectives (Oskar, Grandpa and Grandma), but it doesn't tell you who is speaking so you have to figure out yourself. Secondly, the book wasn't told in chronological order, which makes the plot slightly confusing to understand. Lastly, some pages were empty, some filled with pictures, a few pages with only numbers, some pages with only one sentence "excuse me, do you know what time it is", missing punctuation, random scribbles, and don't forget there were 3 pages where there is writing piled on writing piled on writing... These elements I described made me have a hard time understanding the story line. Reason for 4 stars: A theme of this book was love. It was the motivation for 9 yr old Oskar Schell, to search through NYC, finding a lock that pairs up with a key that belonged to his father. I decided to rate this book 4 stars because I felt moved when Oskar, regardless of how impossible his mission may seem, still very determined and persists to find the missing lock. The strong reason behind was love. And because of the son-father love, the search was made possible and at last, he finally found the man behind the lock! I generally liked this book but I thought it'd be useful if it can be shortened by two-thirds. The other two-thirds were distracting and they bothered me from reading all of the good stuff.

b
beatrice81
Jul 22, 2014

'this book emotionally harmed me. ''

l
lukasevansherman
Oct 31, 2013

Foer's first novel is one of my least favorite of the decade, but this may have supplanted it. I don't know exactly what it is I can't stand about him (well, everything really), but few writers annoy me like he does. Narrated by an absurdly precocious 9 year old boy who lost his father in 9/11, "Extremely Close" presents itself as a virtuosic tour of post-9/11 NYC, as well as a linguistically creative, experimental novel, incorporating photographs, multiple fonts, idiosyncratic grammar and formating and illustrations. The writing style is somewhat similar to "Motherless Brooklyn" and "Curious Incident of the Dog" in its use of an eccentric, possibly autistic narrator. It ends with photos of the man falling from the Tower, which feels exploitive and attempt to infuse a profundity and depth that this sorely lacks. A travesty.

booklady413 Oct 16, 2013

This is a very important book for those who have lived through 9-11. It is a profound read.

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Quotes

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White_Penguin_28
Aug 28, 2017

"And how can you say I love you to someone you love?" - 314

PimaLib_BeccaB May 07, 2015

“In bed that night I invented a special drain that would be underneath every pillow in New York, and would connect to the reservoir. Whenever people cried themselves to sleep, the tears would all go to the same place, and in the morning the weatherman could report if the water level of the Reservoir of Tears had gone up or down, and you could know if New York is in heavy boots.”

booklady413 Oct 16, 2013

"You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness." page 180

s
Scribbly
Jul 04, 2012

That's always been my problem. I miss what I already have, and I surround myself with the things that are missing.

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beatrice81
Jul 22, 2014

beatrice81 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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Nina_
Jun 06, 2012

Nina_ thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 15 and 99

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JENBOI
Dec 29, 2011

JENBOI thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Summary

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s
shellarinelle
Jul 23, 2014

Other than the book being a required read, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close was a totally unique book. First of all, the book was told in 3 different perspectives (Oskar, Grandpa and Grandma), but it doesn't tell you who is speaking so you have to figure out yourself. Secondly, the book wasn't told in chronological order, which makes the plot slightly confusing to understand. Lastly, some pages were empty, some filled with pictures, a few pages with only numbers, some pages with only one sentence "excuse me, do you know what time it is", missing punctuation, random scribbles, and don't forget there were 3 pages where there is writing piled on writing piled on writing... These elements I described made me have a hard time understanding the story line. Reason for 4 stars: A theme of this book was love. It was the motivation for 9 yr old Oskar Schell, to search through NYC, finding a lock that pairs up with a key that belonged to his father. I decided to rate this book 4 stars because I felt moved when Oskar, regardless of how impossible his mission may seem, still very determined and persists to find the missing lock. The strong reason behind was love. And because of the son-father love, the search was made possible and at last, he finally found the man behind the lock! I generally liked this book but I thought it'd be useful if it can be shortened by two-thirds. The other two-thirds were distracting and they bothered me from reading all of the good stuff.

g
Ginnie
Dec 29, 2011

very wierd but interseting book.

Lauren Aug 06, 2008

Meet Oskar Schell, and inventor, Francophile, tambourine player, Shakespearean actor, jeweler, and pacifist. 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 Centre 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 heart beat? 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 fo 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.

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