Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” as Want to Read:
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  379,659 ratings  ·  23,259 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 326 pages
Published April 4th 2006 by Mariner Books (first published April 4th 2005)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Mary This is my absolute favourite book, hands down. I was so excited when the movie came out, went to see it opening night, and was sorely disappointed. T…moreThis is my absolute favourite book, hands down. I was so excited when the movie came out, went to see it opening night, and was sorely disappointed. The beauty of the book lies not only in the writing, but in the design and experimental nature of the layout.
Multiple stories intertwine, whereas the movie primarily focusses on Oskar's journey to find the lock that fit his key. While Oskar's narrative is endearing, the story of his grandparents and the tale of the sixth borough are the ones I find more emotionally charged. These additional stories add humour, love, sadness, feeling.
I am constantly recommending this book to anyone – especially if they've seen the movie – as it is so much more than Hollywood made of it.(less)
Hermione No, I wouldn't say it's very history heavy. It focuses more on the psychological impact that major historical events leave on people (World War II, 9/…moreNo, I wouldn't say it's very history heavy. It focuses more on the psychological impact that major historical events leave on people (World War II, 9/11) rather than the historical facts themselves. (less)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Best Books of the Decade: 2000s
6,761 books — 28,237 voters
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. RowlingTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeePride and Prejudice by Jane AustenTwilight by Stephenie Meyer
Best Books Ever
51,275 books — 202,413 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  379,659 ratings  ·  23,259 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Feb 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 09, 2009 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
Aug 05, 2008 rated it did not like it
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 rated it did not like it
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
Paul Bryant
Aug 15, 2015 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
WARNING: EARNEST REVIEW AHEAD. Very genuine and emotional and generally gross.

I love Jonathan Safran Foer. I love him even though chances seem high that he is quite pretentious (have you read that New York Times piece made up of email correspondence between Natalie Portman and himself? Perma-cringe). I love him even though I’ve only read two of his books and may never read more than that. I love him even though absolutely the only thing I care to know about him is his writing.

When someone writes
Jun 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 19, 2012 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
Feb 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american
An Abuse of Childhood

Traumatic tragedy makes good newspaper copy, especially when it involves children. The combination of horror and sentiment seems irresistible. But does it really serve for good fiction? I have my doubts, at least in the case of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I can’t be entirely certain because, as with so much in my advanced age, the book drags up so many childhood memories from my own sub-conscious that I’m wary of my own judgment.

My psychological connection with Foer
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
On top of the already devastating wreckage left from the September eleventh attacks, Foer describes a bittersweet form of intergenerational pain. (It eventually became an unpopular albeit Oscar-nominated film [which days later I watched & was disappointed with]) this is a huge deviation from his true masterwork (for I suppose that one is more universally great and, unlike this one, less personally divisive:) Everything Is Illuminated. It is so radically different and almost as complex and perfec ...more
Sep 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: paused, unfinished
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
Christina White
Feb 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: literary-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ahmad Sharabiani
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is a 2005 novel by Jonathan Safran Foer. The book's narrator is a nine-year-old boy named Oskar Schell. In the story, Oskar discovers a key in a vase that belonged to his father, a year after he is killed in the September 11 attacks.

The discovery inspires Oskar to search all around New York for information about the key and closure following his father's death.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز یازدهم ماه ژانویه سال
Apr 19, 2010 rated it did not like it
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.

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 time though, and no
Nov 03, 2011 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.
Dec 28, 2008 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" wri
Dan Schwent
Mar 28, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Meredith Holley
Jul 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who haven't read History of Love
Recommended to Meredith 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
K.D. Absolutely
Nov 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Greta G
Extremely beautiful and incredibly lachrymose.
Aug 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Whitney Atkinson
Jan 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2015
One of the most beautifully written and impactful stories ive read.
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
I really enjoyed this movie. It was well done and touching, so I picked up the book. It is a powerful story told, but I think this is an instance the movie is better than the book.

I didn't like the narration of the grandmother and grandfather running throughout the book. I felt the point of view worthy of our time was o Oskar Schell. I wanted the other parts to hurry up and be over. It was strange and didn't seem to have that much import on the story really.

I did like the book. There were some
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 gra
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Jul 19, 2012 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
Mar 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Nicole Krauss
Recommended to unknown by: Jonathan Safran Foer
Brian Yahn
Dec 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Halle Williams Review 9 1 6 May 08, 2020 10:28PM  
Play Book Tag: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer - 3 stars 6 22 Sep 24, 2019 10:41AM  
Oscar´s Grandma 2 52 Apr 26, 2018 05:21PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The History of Love
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer Summary & Guide
  • The Kite Runner
  • Freedom
  • Atonement
  • Never Let Me Go
  • Middlesex
  • Life of Pi
  • A Little Life
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • My Sister's Keeper
  • Een schitterend gebrek
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns
  • Room
  • The Goldfinch
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
See similar books…
Jonathan Safran Foer is the author of two bestselling, award-winning novels, Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and a bestselling work of nonfiction, Eating Animals. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Related Articles

Need another excuse to go to the bookstore this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our list,...
37 likes · 25 comments
“Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I'm not living.” 11048 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.” 4488 likes
More quotes…