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" writing style. Apparently, Foer would at times not use proper punctuation, or would clump words on top of each other so that they appeared to look like scribbles, or would insert photographs, or even leave several pages blank. I hate to look like I'm trying to be cute by using the phrase which appeared so often in the book, but my reaction to this was exactly that: What the.... ?
There is no evidence of any of these experimental writing tactics in the audio version whatsoever. I mean, there is mention of a memoir having nothing but blank pages, but that is part of the story itself... there was no sense of actual blank pages within Foer's book. There was no sense of words piling up on each other, either. And, clearly, there were no pictures.
I'm not sure how I would have felt about the book with all of the above thrown in. Some seemed to have found it distracting, and perhaps I'd have felt the same. Without them, though, you are left with nothing but the story itself, pure and uncluttered, and which I found to be beautifully written.
The narration by the various actors was also superbly done. Sometimes I get annoyed by the fact that my current situation limits me to audiobooks, as I miss having a real book in my hand and reading the words on a page in my own voice with my own interpretation. And then I come across a book like this one, and I am glad. Some books, it seems, are even better read aloud.