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Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  283,149 Ratings  ·  19,659 Reviews
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 fin
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published May 25th 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company (first published 2005)
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Sep 03, 2015 brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
well, i'm naturally drawn to those people who are overwhelmed by existence, by people who hurt too easily; who, for them, life seems to be almost too much: for whom the unceasing cacophony of thought and memory and idea is just too painful and all the cruelty and the violence is inconceivable and the mystery of life and love and foreverness and the past and all of it is just overwhelming to the point in which one wishes one could scream so loud that it would just make it all go away, that one co ...more
Apr 01, 2009 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Kim by: Montambo
There are books that affect me and then there are books that kill me. This falls in the latter. I cried on the couch, I cried on the bus, I cried at stoplights, I cried at work.. I cried more over this book than I did on the actual September 11th. Then I became upset that this piece of fiction could invoke such melancholia. Can I use the excuse of being in shock during the actual event? That it seemed like a movie?

I have no excuse.

Flash back: The second half of 1994, my then boyfriend and I li
Jan 25, 2012 Ben rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, read-in-2010
There must be something wrong with me. I’m not as smart as my goodreader friends. I lack empathy. My humor is deficient. I have no compassion. And I suck at life.

Of the 40 of you “friends” who read this, this is how you rated it:

5-stars: 18 people
4-stars: 13 people
3-stars: 7 people
2-stars: 2 people
1-star: 0 people

Something wrong with me indeed.

(Or something wrong with all of you.)

No. I didn’t finish it. I value opportunity and freedom too much for that. I listened to it. People tell me if I had
Catriona (LittleBookOwl)
Oh, wow.
Aug 15, 2008 Bart rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one at all
Recommended to Bart by: Everything is Illuminated
When Thomas Pynchon invented what James Wood later named “hyper realism”, he did literature no favors. To read Pynchon is to witness genius at its most joyless. A mind capable of inventing myriad things and compelled to record them all. But at least Pynchon showed genius.

What Jonathan Safran Foer shows, however, is mere gimmickry. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close takes readers who thought they might have seen a glimmer of greatness in Everything is Illuminated and convinces them all they real
Aug 01, 2008 Andy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pseudo-intellectuals, people suckered by saccharine emotion

A more apt title would have been Terribly Artificial and Unbearably Pretentious. This seems like the kind of thing I would have thought was a profound idea when I myself was nine, laboring on crayon illustrations to include with my manuscript into the wee hours of the morning. Maybe that means Foer succeeded. I happen to think it means his efforts were an abject failure, and that he has a great many readers and critics completely snowed.

With a book like this, you either accept it as charming wis
Matt Holloway
Nov 08, 2008 Matt Holloway rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Extremely Precocious and Incredibly Irritating
Paul Bryant
Sep 26, 2015 Paul Bryant rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
I’m Oskar with a k like Liza with a Z cause Oskar with a k is krazy (also kind, klever and kultured). I’m 10 going on Dalai Lama. I make jewellery (I know!) and collect butterflies who have died naturally and play a tambourine constantly. You have to wonder why no one has killed me since I must drive people insane with my maximum cuteness. Oh, and have shortwave radio conversations with my grandma over in another desirable residence in the Upper West Side. I have empathy for every living thing i ...more
Today while tutoring, I've met with one student right at 1 and another at 4. In between those times, I read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Perhaps that was not the smartest thing to do...

Sometimes I find the book so funny that I laugh out loud. Which is fine if I had a quiet laugh, but I don't. And I tutor in a common meeting space which is a center room with offices surrounding it. Clearly, everyone in the office knew I was getting paid to laugh at what I was reading. I felt bad; if I was
Mar 14, 2013 Lawyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Lawyer by: A suggestion for group read by goodreads group Literary Exploration
Extremely Loud and Incredbily Close: Jonathan Foer's novel of love, loss, and memory

There are events that leave an indelible stamp on us for a great portion of our lives. This happens from generation to generation.

Ask those living at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor where they were and what they were doing, they will be able to tell you the answer. Similarly, ask me where I was when I heard John F. Kennedy was shot, I can tell you.

Ask what I was doing when the attacks of 9/11 occurred, I c
Sep 06, 2010 Brad rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished, paused
I read the first chapter and stopped. I am pissed off. I have rarely felt so manipulated as a reader in my life, and I think the manipulation is more about the way it is written than what it is written about, although that is, in itself, fairly manipulative. If this is how Foer usually writes, I want no part of him or his work. Still, if this was a short story and I reached the point where the Dad is about to talk to his son before the towers collapse, I would be excited by the cleverness of the ...more
Jan 19, 2014 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-kindle, 2011, reviewed
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christina White
Jan 06, 2014 Christina White rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dan Schwent
Apr 09, 2015 Dan Schwent rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Nine year old Oskar Schell finds a key among his dead father's things and embarks on a quest to find the lock it fits. Will Oskar Schell's quest give him the answers he's looking for?

Quite some time ago, I watched a fragment of the movie based on this book on a rainy day before deciding I wanted to read the book. Now that I've read it, I'm not sure it was the right choice.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is the story of Oskar Schell, a nine year old possible genius with issues whose father di
Jul 16, 2011 Laurel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites
I hate to keep pointing out to everyone that I listened to the audio version of this or that book, as it gets repetitive after awhile, and for the most part, it is usually irrelevant. In this case, though, it seems to have made a difference.

When I finished Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, I went online to read some reviews. I was surprised by what I read. It seemed that just about everyone who gave their opinion on this book, whether positive or negative, commented on Foer's "experimental"
K.D. Absolutely
Nov 29, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Emir
Recommended to K.D. by: Emir
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is extremely sad and incredibly stylish. For a thin plot, Foer was able to extend it by shifting narratives, delightful monologues, empty pages, pages with one liners, pages with black and white pictures, pages with colored pictures, pages with scribbled names, pages that look like a manuscript with editor's proofreading symbols and by several back stories (Hiroshima bombing, Dresden bombing, etc). That’s a delicate style that I think only gifted writers can p ...more
Sep 22, 2010 Sparrow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who haven't read History of Love
Recommended to Sparrow by: This guy (Eric?) who I worked with at BN
Maybe it goes without saying that we write differently in letters than we do in email or text. Something about putting pen to paper makes a handwritten letter more intimate and less imposing than electronic media. We take off the tin-foil hat. Our mistakes are not made invisible by a backspace key, but crossed out with our own hand. We reveal ourselves. And letters to people we love are that much more intimate and revealing, even sentimental. We create something, a product, that you can hold in ...more
Sep 01, 2007 Lucy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: open-minded readers who don't mind the unconventional
Shelves: favorites
I picked this book up two days ago to read the first page (I personally think you can tell a lot about a book from the first page) and was hooked. I'm in the middle of another book, which is a good book, but the jarring nature of the prose reeled me in. The first chapter is called, "What the?" which is exactly what I was thinking. I was instantly reminded of another great book, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, where you actually experience the book as well as read it. While I wo ...more
Perhaps I'm just stupid, but I don't get this book, nor am I really crazy about it.

It's a little too hip for me, in the sense that I don't think anybody really gets what the hell Foer is trying to say, but because it's obscure everyone likes it.

Or maybe I'm just looking too much into the book. But I found myself having to read and re-read pages over and over again to make sense of it all.

It doesn't do it for me, but I might try to get through it one last time, mainly because I feel very guilty
Whitney Atkinson
One of the most beautifully written and impactful stories ive read.
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Oct 18, 2012 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone I can talk into reading it
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Hooked by Title and Cover - Brilliant
According to E. Wilson 'No two persons ever read the same book.' I love an author that allows a story to just unfold; that leaves me to draw my own conclusions. I love that it wasn’t just about 9-11 but also war torn Dresden and Hiroshima. Well my spin is this is probably the most powerful anti-war book I’ve ever read.
The stream of consciousness writing style is the perfect choice. It’s lyrical and appropriate, just go with it. It’s not depressing; in fact parts of it are really funny. Then aga
Brian Yahn
Oskar, a thoughtful kid full of quirks and handicaps, finds a key. So the journey he goes on to find its (and his own) place in the world should be inspiring at least. But although Oskar learns all sorts of interesting things everywhere he goes, he never really makes any progress. And similarly, neither does the story.

Right from the start, the prose is sharp, and the characters stand out. The father particularly is just as likable as can be. But the story as a whole moves in too many directions
Oct 12, 2010 j rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nicole Krauss
Recommended to j by: Jonathan Safran Foer
May 18, 2013 Becky rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book this morning, determined to complete it before I did anything else today. I wanted it to just be over. I read the last 41 pages & then looked at the additional 15 unnumbered pages of pictures at the end, and now I sit here rather annoyed. I don't know how to communicate my disappointed sighs via text.
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I really wanted to love this book. It was given to me by a friend who loved it - someone whose opinion I trust. I didn't get around to reading it for a long ti
Jul 09, 2010 J rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to J by: Kim
Dear Kim,
Thank you for making me read this, you book-pushing, carney-loving, skee ball fiend. You were right. I wish you lighter boots*, always.

Dear Everyone Else,
Let’s get this out of the way first: There are pictures. They’re intended to be clever and, at times, to clutch at your heart. It’s gimmicky. I don’t care.

Granted, I read this at a time when I may have been more vulnerable to schmaltz. My mother had recently passed away. I was on a journey, searching for the parts of her life that had
Violet wells
There are quite a few novels that you either love or hate. Not so many that you can simultaneously both love AND hate. To admire there’s the high tide imaginative vitality of the writing; to irritate the relentless contrived cutesy-cutesy tugging at the heartstrings.

EL&IC purports to be a novel about big bangs - 9/11, Hiroshima and Dresden - but you might say this novel is more about the consequences of over indulging feeling. There’s Oskar who misses his dad who dies on 9/11 and there’s his
Jul 27, 2010 JSou rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favo-u-rites
Sometimes, I'm actually grateful for when good ol' insomnia kicks in. I can deep clean my kitchen without any distractions, play catch-up with the never-ending, nervous-breakdown-inducing amount of laundry I have, and even try to finally watch a movie (surprisingly, even snooze-worthy The Wolfman couldn't get me to sleep). And of course, I can read. Sure, I hate myself in the morning and feel like crap all day, but there's times that it's worth it. Especially when the book I'm reading is as good ...more
I could write an endless review about this book and how amazing it is... but Im not going too, because I would never want to take or giveaway anything about this book. Youll want to feel every emotion this book gives off. such a powerful, beautiful, and moving novel.
Feb 10, 2016 Joey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I don't think I read enough contemporary fiction to make sweeping, definitive statements about it. So I won't say that Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is the best book of the 21st century so far. But I will say that it's the best book I've read so far this century, and that Foer belongs in the rarified category of contemporary greats like Phillip Roth and Kurt Vonnegut.

This is not a perfect novel; it gets a little (but just a little) gimmicky in spots, and there are times when you just wish
Jul 19, 2007 Malbadeen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people that are willing to feel everything
Whatever with what happens to us when we die, this book reminds us of how connected we are right now and being connectioned to somone as brilliant as Foer is reason enough to be grateful!
I was completely baffaled at Foer's ability to know and convey so many things at once. His intimate view into grieving was what amazed me the most, his ability to carry you into the horrible realities without turning it into a sappy, poor kid type story was amazing.
So many things were familiar about living after
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Jonathan Safran Foer is an American writer best known for his 2002 novel Everything Is Illuminated. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, the novelist Nicole Krauss, and their son, Sasha.
More about Jonathan Safran Foer...

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“Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I'm not living.” 9854 likes
“Why didn't I learn to treat everything like it was the last time. My greatest regret was how much I believed in the future.” 4042 likes
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