Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

75%

50 Critic Reviews

If you have ever wanted something, lost someone, thought, felt, or breathed, read this book. Listen to the audiobook. Download the Kindle version. You will not be disappointed.
-Blog Critics

Synopsis

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.
 

About Jonathan Safran Foer

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Jonathan Safran Foer is one of the most acclaimed young writers of his generation. His books have received numerous awards including a National Jewish Book Award and a Guardian First Book Award, and have been translated into thirty-six languages. He garnered remarkable praise for his first two novels, Everything Is Illuminated (adapted for film in 2005) and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (adapted for film in December 2011), and for his New York Times bestselling work of nonfiction, Eating Animals. Nathan Englander is the author of the novel, The Ministry of Special Cases, the play, The Twenty-Seventh Man, and the story collections For the Relief of Unbearable Urges and What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, which won the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist. He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife Rachel Silver.
 
Published September 3, 2013 by Mariner Books. 368 pages
Genres: Current Affairs, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Children's Books, Political & Social Sciences. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Feb 05 2012
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Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
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Critic reviews for Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close
All: 50 | Positive: 37 | Negative: 13

Kirkus

Excellent
Jan 01 2005

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.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Jan 31 2005

...Foer demonstrates once again that he is one of the few contemporary writers willing to risk sentimentalism in order to address great questions of truth, love and beauty.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Walter Kirn on Apr 03 2005

No traditional story could put forward the tritenesses that Foer reshuffles, folds, cuts into strips, seals in seven separate envelopes and then, astonishingly, makes whole, causing the audience to ooh and aah over notions that used to make it groan.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Walter Kirn on Apr 03 2005

Once they've cracked open this overstuffed fortune cookie and pondered the symmetries, allusions and truths on the tightly coiled strip of paper, it will dawn on some readers that today's neo-experimental novels are not necessarily any better suited to get inside, or around, today's realities than your average Hardy Boys mystery.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Mar 22 2005

he novel as a whole feels simultaneously contrived and improvisatory, schematic and haphazard.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Michel Faber on Jun 03 2005

...it's pointless to question the credibility of the scene in Everything Is Illuminated where a husband collects his wife's teardrops in a thimble, there's no use groaning...This book is aimed at readers who find such images deeply touching.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Tim Adams on May 28 2005

...Safran Foer is a writer of considerable brilliance...By the time you get to the end, and flip backwards through the pictures of the falling figure to restore the victim to the top of the skyscraper, as Oskar wishes, you may feel a good deal of the emotion has been borrowed and not quite deserved.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Michel Faber on Jun 03 2005

Inauthentic though Foer's creations may seem, they are suffused with... a yearning to reconstitute a shattered past, to... express the inexpressible. In this he is as sincere and committed as he needs to be.

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Blog Critics

Excellent
Reviewed by Jen Herrmann on Sep 02 2010

If you have ever wanted something, lost someone, thought, felt, or breathed, read this book. Listen to the audiobook. Download the Kindle version. You will not be disappointed.

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Blog Critics

Excellent
Reviewed by Jen Herrmann on Sep 02 2010

has brought me to my literary knees with the beauty of its writing style. The plot is heartwarming and meaningful in and of itself, but the way Foer portrays his characters and story is what really makes the book a must-read.

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Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Kristin Wilson on Apr 15 2012

September 11 is a day that made young Oskar grow up before he should have, but he still holds much of his childlike charm and innocence while he copes with his loss and tries to understand the world around him.

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Book Reporter

Good
Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller on Jan 21 2011

...the reader is endeared to the character of Oskar, with his mixture of odd maturity and sweet innocence. Among the first wave of post 9-11 fiction, Safran Foer bravely branches out stylistically while cleverly weaving the stories of two families' grief into an effective and moving novel.

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AV Club

Excellent
Reviewed by Andy Battaglia on Apr 25 2005

It's a testament to Foer's writing that his dazzling way with words never trumps the emotions he serves

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AV Club

Above average
Reviewed by Andy Battaglia on Apr 12 2005

Author Jonathan Safran Foer sketches out distinctive voices for each part, all of them stylized, searching, and formally inventive without making formal invention their primary focus. It's a testament to Foer's writing that his dazzling way with words never trumps the emotions he serves...

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Entertainment Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Jennifer Reese on Jan 17 2015

Even if a few of his gambits fall flat, it’s hard to fault a 28-year-old novelist for such an intense hunger to connect. Especially when he’s offering such a treasure: Oskar’s wonderfully unquiet brain and his sweet soul, his ageless questions, silly school jokes, uncanny observations, and raw misery...

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The Independent

Below average
Reviewed by David Evans on Feb 19 2012

Jonathan Safran Foer's bombastic literary flourishes and pervading sentimentality become tiresome. One is left desiring something a little less loud, and a little more detached.

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Pajiba

Good
Reviewed by Brian Prisco on Mar 11 2009

It's also a furiously quick read that will stay with you. I can still feel parts of the novel resonating within me a few hours after I closed the cover. It's a jarring story, but only because it's delivered with such exquisitely awkward humor.

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People

Good
on Apr 11 2005

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close eludes the second-novel jinx and displays the gifts—Foer's energy, imagination, ambition and humor—that made his first book, Everything Is Illuminated, such a success.

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Oprah.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Laura Linney

You find that you're on an adventure, going into a realm of thought and texture and feeling and emotion that is very specific to this boy. Your senses will be awakened.

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Book Buzz

Excellent
Reviewed by Sarah Chain on Feb 25 2012

Oskar is a compelling protagonist... the book is definitely something I’d recommend

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New York Magazine

Below average
Reviewed by Laura Miller on Nov 01 2014

At times, you can detect Foer trying to adjust for this mistake, but he doesn’t succeed at the one thing that might have transcended it: conviction in his characters.

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Persephone Magazine

Excellent
Mar 27 2012

Several parts of the story pulled me in emotionally. I couldn’t stop reading. I was challenged to close the pages to focus on other things.

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Annenberg Digital News

Excellent
Reviewed by Charlotte Spangler on Feb 25 2012

I would recommend this book as an easy and emotional journey. I myself was led to tears...Watching this boy try to make sense of such a great loss is heart-breaking but beautiful.

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Harvard Book Review

Excellent
Reviewed by Sandy Ullman

The author's gift at finding solace, consolation, and even humor in the darkest recesses of human memory is fully engaged by the challenge of a recent tragedy

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The Burg

Excellent
Reviewed by Tonia Rutherford on Apr 10 2012

Foer has won me over... The truths and wisdom he shares between his characters shoot daggers into the hearts of his readers with each artfully crafted line.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by zoe.mixon on Apr 10 2015

This book is stirring, motivated, and definitely full of life. It is one of the few books that I can honestly say touched my soul.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by radius on Apr 30 2014

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a book for those who enjoy variety in their contemporary fiction. It is almost as far away from a cookie cutter mass market book as a person can find while still incorporating a compelling plot and thought provoking deeper meanings.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by David W. on Apr 30 2014

Through a varied organizational structure and a completely unique style, Jonathan Safran Foer successfully achieved the impossible: putting emotions onto paper.

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Teen Ink

Good
on Apr 30 2014

This is a must read book, also there are really cool pictures throughout the book if you are like me and you have something to look at as you read.

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Teen Ink

Above average
on Apr 30 2014

For a significant portion of the novel Oskar rambles. I know what the author is trying to do, but it makes the book arduous to read and follow at times. Bottom line: I would recommend this book to people who I think would appreciate it(people with my sense of humor/personality).

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Teen Ink

Good
on Apr 30 2014

Overall, I would recommend this book to all kinds of readers because it introduces a way of writing that is really different and is definitely a worthy read.

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http://skrishnasbooks.com

Good
Reviewed by Swapna Krishna on Oct 13 2011

I think it’s a wonderful tribute to 9/11, examining the impact of one man’s senseless death on the members of his family, and I couldn’t have asked for a better novel to read on the 10th anniversary of that horrific event.

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http://www.bookdrum.com

Good
on Apr 10 2014

...a book for those who can see past the less believable passages to the very real grief at the heart of the story. Its style will resonate most with those generations who have, like Oskar, grown up in a world suffused with images, many of them horrific, and sought out that which is whimsical and quirky to weather it.

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The Blue Bookcase

Good
Reviewed by ConnieGirl on Apr 10 2015

Don't read this book with an expectation of learning how 9/11 affected every victim and their families; this book is not meant to be a universal description that can or should be applied to everyone. Read it as a fiction case study of how a traumatic incident -- the loss of his father -- affected one small boy and his mother.

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Sarah Reads Too Much

Below average
Reviewed by Sarah Reads Too Much on May 11 2012

I began to feel so much, that I finally felt hollow and spent. For this reason, I did not enjoy reading this book at all...The writing is awesome, the characters are more than you could hope for... and it is all so great that reading was not a likable experience for me.

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Sophisticated Dorkiness

Excellent
Reviewed by Kim Ukura on Aug 18 2009

...if you can accept, heck, embrace the non-traditional style, you’ll be rewarded with a story that will stick with you for a long time.

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The Introverted Reader

Good
Reviewed by Introverted Jen on Sep 30 2011

Just heart-breaking. But by the end, for me, anyway, it just got to be all heart-breaking. That's why it only got four stars.

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Booking in Heels

Above average
Reviewed by Hanna W on Mar 04 2012

...it wasn't really what I was expecting. It's slightly manic and very disjointed, so you really have to be willing to suffer a few raised eyebrows and confused glances. That said, it's also a moving look into a little boy's grief if you're willing to put in the effort and examine the different formats used.

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Reviews of Books

Good
Reviewed by W. R. Greet

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close can be uplifting and soul searing at different times... Oskar Schell's story is one to cherish... one we all ought to acknowledge and embrace.

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Knitting and Sundries

Below average
Reviewed by Julie on Jun 12 2012

It was very gimmicky: the formatting was odd, the writing itself was confusing, and I just couldn't get my head around ANY of the characters.

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Opinionless

Below average
Reviewed by Aaron on May 04 2011

I can’t say that I was either overly impressed by Foer’s writing style or blinded by his originality

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Hello Giggles

Good
Reviewed by Lindsey Silken on Mar 11 2012

made me cry on more than one occasion... Foer’s gift is in story-telling

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It's All About Books

Good
Reviewed by Asriani Purnama on Feb 28 2013

9/11 attack that was included as the background in this books had its own magnet. All my thought and feelings were instantly coming back. So I got no difficulty to see the situation. I could easily picture how Oskar's father was, when he left some messages in the answering machine.

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Eating Bender Blog

Good
Reviewed by Jenn on Feb 22 2012

Read this book if you are interested in a beautifully written... story of love and loss, of failure and triumph

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Benefits of a Classical Education Blog

Good
Reviewed by Alex Thompson on Jul 14 2011

this book is not only extremely well written and incredibly emotional but that those two combine to vault it into my short list of the best books I’ve ever read.

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HallieSawyer.com

Good
Reviewed by Hallie Sawyer on Jan 24 2012

The author did a great job of stringing me along... he artfully illuminated more and more of the story to complete my understanding. I recommend reading this book simply for the unique point of view

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Try This Book On For Size

Excellent
Reviewed by Kevin Craig on Jan 12 2012

...I really fell in love with this book somewhere within the first paragraph. It makes you catch your breath...forces you to keep reminding yourself to breathe.

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Page247

Excellent
on Dec 05 2011

I found this novel so much bigger then that day, that tragedy, so full of hurt and heart and wild love. I want to thank Jonathan Foer for his words and to thank Oskar for his courage in the face of great loss.

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Home Alone with Books Blog

Good
Reviewed by Linda M. on Apr 30 2012

The characters in this novel are breathtakingly honest and vivid... Extremely Colorful and Incredibly Rich.

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Esoteric Sips Blog

Below average
Feb 26 2012

The story is such mumble jumble that if someone asked me to draw a story board for it...I actually wouldn't be able to do it. All in all, a real waste of time.

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Reader Rating for Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close
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