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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: A Novel [Hardcover]

Jonathan Safran Foer
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)

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Kindle Edition 3.67  
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Hardcover, 2 Jun 2005 --  
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Audio, CD, Abridged, Audiobook, CD 12.79  
Audio Download, Unabridged 15.20 or Free with Audible.co.uk 30-day free trial

Book Description

2 Jun 2005
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.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Hamish Hamilton Ltd; First Edition edition (2 Jun 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 024114213X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241142134
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.6 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 757,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jonathan Safran Foer is the author of the bestseller Everything Is Illuminated, named Book of the Year by the Los Angeles Times and the winner of numerous awards, including the Guardian First Book Prize, the National Jewish Book Award, and the New York Public Library Young Lions Prize. Foer was one of Rolling Stone's "People of the Year" and Esquire's "Best and Brightest." Foreign rights to his new novel have already been sold in ten countries. The film of Everything Is Illuminated, directed by Liev Schreiber and starring Elijah Wood, will be released in August 2005. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close has been optioned for film by Scott Rudin Productions in conjunction with Warner Brothers and Paramount Pictures. Foer lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Product Description

Review

Jonathan Safran Foer has emerged as one of the most original writers of his generation. --Booklist

Safran Foer is a writer of considerable brilliance. --Guardian --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From the Back Cover

Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is an inventor, amateur entomologist, computer consultant, Francophile, letter writer, pacifist, amateur astronomer, natural historian, percussionist, romantic, Great Explorer, jeweller, origamist, detective, vegan and collector of butterflies.

When his father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, 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...

--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
97 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A staggering work of genius... 6 Sep 2006
By Sarah Durston TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Oskar is a nine year old living in New York, who lost his Father in 9/11. Whilst he is going through his things he accidently smashes a vase and comes across a key. Oskar is sure that the key belonged to his father and so attempts to search for which of the 162 million locks in New York it might open, in an attempt to make sense of the tragedy and keep something of his Father alive.

A parrallel narrative involves Oskar's grandparents, their relationship and the similarity between the Dresden bombings (which they witnessed) and 9/11.

I have to say that I approached this novel with some trepidation, fearing an overly sentimental or schmaltzy examination of 9/11, but I needn't have worried. With the exception of 'If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things' by Jon McGregor, this novel would have to be as close to perfection as I have ever read.

The writing is moving and poetic, with plenty of word-play. It's challenging and funny without ever taking the obvious and tested methods. I would have to say that the writing might not be to everyone's taste, there is plenty of mulling over and description, but for me this just added to the experience.

I loved Oskar and although it is hard to believe that a nine year old would be so accomplished it isn't impossible. There are many explorations in this novel of how people attempt to cope with or make sense of loss. I found the grandfather's story the most moving...to leave an unborn child becasue you can't cope with the thought that one day you may lose it.

I cried through large chunks of this book, and even though it could have been my hormones, it might be one to avoid if you have recently suffered bereavement or if you're going through a rough patch.

I'd give it six stars if I could. Remarkable.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretentiousness aside - this is masterful 14 Jun 2005
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Unlike the other reviews I didn't find this book confusing, though at times I was frustrated by it. I found the characterisation to be superb and over-shadowed the pseudo-stylistics of the book; which on the whole was incredibly engrossing. The story is subtle, as is the humour which manages to be moving at the same time. On one level the book is about one boy's personal journey to find peace, yet on another it is a covert social commentary - embodying all of the fear of post 9/11 America without ever overtly explaining anything about the incident. You will either love or hate the author's style. I for one found it frustrating at times when I would've preferred continuous prose, but that is not what the book is about. With private letters from two main characters to their son and grandson and the surreal thoughts and feelings of Oskar Schell (probably the most interesting character created in contemporary fiction), a 9 year old who has lost his father in the September 11th attacks, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" manages to move you without being overly sentimental, amuse you without trying and entertain you as it takes in over 60 years of history without ever explaining the facts. It is neither pushy nor patronising and is wholly original in concept. Very impressive stuff.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars witty, insightful and incredibly sad 10 Sep 2006
Format:Paperback
Having really enjoyed 'Everything is Illuminated' I approached this with caution. I was prepared to be disappointed by 'second book syndrome'. However, having read this it seems that Jonathan Safran Foer is a real talent and not a one book wonder. This is modern literature at its best. The book is witty, insightful and incredibly sad.

Like 'Everything is Illuminated' this is a book written from several viewpoints. We have the story of Oskar whose father was a victim of 9/11 searching New York a lock to fit a key he finds in a vase belonging to his father. This is probably the best part of the book and provides its meat. Oskar is 9 years old and has about every hang up you can imagine. In some ways this part of the book reminds me of 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime' though its never stated that the boy has Asperger's syndrome. Oskar is however obsessive and seems to veer strongly towards an autistic personality.

The second and third parts of the book are more in the magical realist style that Foer used for the story of the shtetl in 'Everything is Illuminated'. It follows the relationship between Oskar's Grandmother and Grandfather who is literally dumb and has to communicate by writing. The relationship begins in Dresden immediately prior to the bombing in 1945 and through this provides a sympathetic analogy to the loss of Oskar's father and of course his Grandmother's son in 9/11.

This is a huge achievement considering that 9/11 is still so fresh in everybody's mind. Brave writing that deserves to be read.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Extremely close 25 Mar 2007
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Sometimes an author has a theme running through all of his writing -- in the case of Jonathan Safran Foer, it seems to be a quest of the soul. His follow-up to the cult hit "Everything Is Illuminated" is the poignant, quirky, tender "Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close," which takes readers back to the rubble of ground zero.

Oskar Schell is a precocious preteen, who has been left depressed and traumatized. His father died in the September 11 attacks, leaving behind a mysterious key in an envelope with the word "Black" on it. So with the loyalty and passion that only a kid can muster, he begins to explore New York in search of that lock.

As Oskar explores Manhatten, Foer also reaches throughout history to other horrific attacks that shattered people's lives, including his traumatized grandparents. Though the book is sprinkled with letters and stories from before Oskar's time, the boy's quest is the center of the book. And when he finally finds where the key belongs, he will find out a little something about human nature as well...

Historically, only a short time has passed since 9/11, and in some ways "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" reopens the wounds. It reminds me of all the families who lost fathers, mothers and children. But Foer doesn't use cheap sentimentalism to draw in his readers, nor does he exploit the losses of September 11th families. It takes guts to write a book like this, and skill to do it well.

In some ways, this book is much like Foer's first novel, but he deftly avoids retreading old ground -- the "quest" is vastly different, the young protagonist is very different, and the conflicts and loss are different, though no less hard-hitting.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love!
Published 9 days ago by K. Cavaretta
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
an amazing confusing at times read. well executed and understanding Oskar from the first few pages is testament to be author
Published 10 days ago by Andy
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book, great condition
You'll laugh, you'll cry. Beautiful use of page layout. If you hate it you don't have a soul. x x
Published 2 months ago by Zoe King
5.0 out of 5 stars Book order.
Easy. By mistake I ordered the book which goes with the film and paid for it but when I realised what I had done I ordered the correct book and Amazon cancelled the order for the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Marcia Sharples
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
Good arrival time. I bought this second hand but it was in perfect condition. I will continue to buy all my books second hand!
Published 2 months ago by Frankie
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming, horrific and beautiful
A beautiful, horrifying, human story that shows how loss of a true loved one can totally tear lives apart but by searching for closure you can enlighten so many other lives. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Celeste
1.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Stupid & Incredibly Silly
This is not only the strangest piece of fiction I have ever read, it is one of the worst. The problems begin with the nine-year-old narrator, Oskar Schell. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Alexander
1.0 out of 5 stars Just awful
I can't believe I made it to the end of this. It is pretentious, annoying, at times confusing, and just really difficult to engage with. Read more
Published 3 months ago by highheeledfagin
2.0 out of 5 stars Just ok.
This book arrived to me in a very good condition. I`m quick reader but I just can`t finish this one. Maybe it is not my kind of book.
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars loved it.
Extremely touching story which portrays story of one of the family's who lost love one in 9/11.
Whould recomend everyone to read
Published 4 months ago by tvz
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