Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Natanya's Ramblings on "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"

Title/Author: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Publisher/Year Published: Houghton Mifflin Company 2005
How I got this book: Library
Why I read it: I heard it was fantastic
At age 9, Oskar Schell is extremely bright, capable, and insatiably curious (albeit a bit socially challenged). He is an inventor, spending much of his time creating useful items in his head, such as a teakettle whose spout became a mouth and “could whistle pretty melodies, or do Shakespeare.” Through Oskar’s eyes, we are able to view the world through an entirely different lens as he struggles to deal with his father’s September 11th death and his mother’s apparent ability to move on. A year after his father’s death, Oskar discovers a key among his father’s belongings along with the name “Black,” and he immediately sets out on a search for the lock to which the key belongs. Travelling throughout New York City, Oskar meets people from every walk of life, from an old man with a card catalogue of every important person he has heard of or met, to a couple who keep museums in each other’s honor. Meanwhile, alongside Oskar’s quest and his memories, Foer tells another, much different but equally intriguing tale, written in letters beginning in another place and time and unveiling two lives up until now shielded behind a cloak of rules, lies, and silence.
Oskar’s objective perspective provides us with what I can only term (in a horribly clich├ęd manner, but with no negative intentions) as a “learning experience.” When Oskar says or does something strange we as readers, though perhaps embarrassed on his behalf, can nearly view the situation through his eyes. We fully understand his motivations and desires, but are simultaneously unable to predict the next move of this remarkable young boy.
I picked up Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close expecting it to be amazing, and was not at all disappointed. This is a novel that really does not need any explanation. In a manner simultaneously humorous and lighthearted yet tragic, Jonathan Safran Foer seamlessly weaves together and brings to life dozens of lives, forming a unique and uplifting story. I would recommend this novel to anyone.
5 stars


  1. This is one of my all time favorite books!! This book brought every emotion out of me. I've honestly felt like I've never read a more moving book since then. I definitely had "heavy boots" for a few days after finishing it!

    I'm so glad you liked it!!

  2. Haha I read it partly because I'd seen that you love it so much, and I'd also heard from other people that it's great.

  3. I am so glad you loved this book as much as I did. Oskar Schell has become one of my favorite male literary characters. Great review :)

  4. I have to pick up this book now! Thanks so much for reviewing it :)

  5. I enjoyed this book, but my feelings about it are somewhat mixed. You can read my review of it here:


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