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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close : A Novel
Jonathan Safran Foer follows his best-selling debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated, with an unexpectedly hilarious and affecting story about New York City in the period following September 11
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close recasts recent history through the eyes of Oskar Schell, an unusually intelligent nine-year-old on an urgent quest to find the lock that matches a mysterious key belonging to his father, who died in the World Trade Center. This unlikely adventure takes Oskar through every city borough and into contact with survivors of all sorts, and it's his irrepressible voice—one that few writers could conceive as imaginatively as Foer does—that transforms the tragedy of circumstance into an exhilarating tribute to love.
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EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE Jonathan Safran Foer . Houghton Mifflin , $24.95 (368p) ISBN 0-618-32970-6 Oskar Schell, hero of this brilliant follow-up to Foer's bestselling Everything Is Illuminated , is a nine-year-old amateur inventor, jewelry designer, astrophysicist, tambourine player and pacifist. Like the second-language narrator of Illuminated , Oskar turns his na�vely precocious vocabulary to the understanding of historical tragedy, as he searches New York for the lock that matches a mysterious key left by his father when he was killed in the September 11 attacks, a quest that intertwines with the story of his grandparents, whose lives were blighted by the firebombing of Dresden. Foer embellishes the narrative with evocative graphics, including photographs, colored highlights and passages of illegibly overwritten text, and takes his unique flair for the poetry of miscommunication to occasionally gimmicky lengths, like a two-page soliloquy written entirely in numerical code. Although not quite the comic tour de force that Illuminated was, the novel is replete with hilarious and appalling passages, as when, during show-and-tell, Oskar plays a harrowing recording by a Hiroshima survivor and then launches into a Poindexterish disquisition on the bomb's "charring effect." It's more of a challenge to play in the same way with the very recent collapse of the towers, but Foer gambles on the power of his protagonist's voice to transform the cataclysm from raw current event to a tragedy at once visceral and mythical. Unafraid to show his traumatized characters' constant groping for emotional catharsis, 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. Agent, Nicole Aragi. 11-city author tour; foreign rights sold in 12 countries. (Apr. 4)
Reviewed on: 01/31/2005
Showing 1-5 of the 5 most recent reviews
1 . Close
Posted July 27, 2012 by Ann , Los AngelesExcellent.
2 . So much heartbreak; such true feelings...
Posted April 04, 2012 by Bronwen , CallanderAbsolutely loved this book! It was hard to follow at times so I had to stop and think about what I was reading more and sometimes go back a few pages. Very different book - characters were very unusual, but that's what makes this world and people so different and interesting. Very refreshing actually. It was a walk through the eyes of a little boy who has lost his father and desperately tries not to let go of him. The family was 'unusual' to say the least, and this is what makes the boy, Oskar, so interesting and also makes the story so unusual. My feeling is the person who wrote this book is a genious! I have never read a book such as this before. Grief is shown in such a different light. It follows Oskar's handling of his grief solidly through his depression, his disbelief, and finally his acceptance of the truth. I will be reading this book again as I'm sure I have missed so much.
3 . Guess I'll see the movie
Posted March 24, 2012 by terry , Centreville, VAJust didn't understand the point.......especially the title
4 . Extremely confusing and incredibly painful
Posted February 16, 2012 by Rhonda , CanadaI looked very much forward to reading this book, I thought it would be a heartfelt story about a boy who lost his father, but I was led on a wild goosechase of confusing stories....I finished it, but it was painful to do so. Not my type of book at all.
5 . Boring !!!!
Posted February 03, 2012 by Claire , DenverSo boring I stopped reading after 70 pages. I was hoping it would take me somewhere but I finaly had to quit. Very disapointing.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
October 31, 2011
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