Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Genre: General Fiction/Literature
Source: Library
Synopsis: When 9-year-old Oskar Schell's father died in the 9/11 attack, what he was left with was a mysterious key, kept in an envelope, labeled "Black." This forces Oskar to search for the specific lock that will match this key in the city of New York. Through his adventures and quest in the bustling city, he comes face to face with other people affected by other tragedies, attacks, and loss. Ultimately, with this quest, Oskar Schell might actually learn a thing or two about life... and human nature.

Review: Well, this book sure wins the 'Most Innovative Storyline" award. Backed up with Jonathan Safran Foer's wonderful prose and writing, well, it seems like we got quite a winner here. That being said, it's quite clear; I loved this book!Do I recommend it? Yes -- but... in my opinion, it seems as if this is just not a book for everyone. I have read mixed reviews and heard different opinions about this, and I can see both sides pretty clearly. Maybe it's just one of those 'You either love it or hate it' kind of read. For me, I loved it for several reasons.
  • The story is real and did not seem at all contrived
  • Oskar Schell is believable as a 9-year old boy, suffering from loss and searching for meaning.
  • He is just likable! And as a reader, I couldn't help but sympathize with him.
As for the other reasons why I love the book, these are subjective, and I think these might also be the same reasons why others seem to not like it.
  • The book was a wonderful mix of very different things; sad, happy, melancholic, jolly, pessimistic, optimistic, negative, positive.
  • As I already mentioned, Jonathan Safran Foer's writing is good. It was however, edgy, strange, and just plain different in terms of style. It might be something you have to get used to.
For me though, I thought it was a great book -- very well written and well told. It has a solid story, with a message that is both thought-provoking and profound.
If you would like to check this one out, please do. But first, try to read the synopsis, and maybe even the first chapter if you get the chance. Then judge if it's something you think you would like. I'd love to hear what you thought about this one if you have read it.


  1. This one is on my wishlist. Thanks for the great review - I can't wait to read it!

  2. Have you read his first book? It was chosen as a summer reading book at K College in 2006 and because I was helping with orientation, I got to meet him and he signed both this book and his first!

  3. Loved Oskar. Loved the book.

  4. Probably going to pass on this one, but I wanted to leave you a comment anyway and tell you that you wrote a great review! Nice job!

  5. @Missy B: Thanks! I'd love to hear what you think about it when you get to read it.

    @A. Justine: Yeah I read the first one too. And he's one of my favorite authors now, sooo cool you got to meet him. Do you still have the signed copy?

    @Kim, Too: Yeah, I really liked Oskar's character. Glad to hear you liked it too!

    @Julie P: Thanks so much Julie, I try. haha. Thanks again :)

  6. Foer is one of my favorite authors. I'm always happy to see other people enjoying him. I reread ELaIC last November right before I saw Foer speak in Chicago. Even though he was talking about his latest book (Eating Animals, Nonfiction about factory farming) It was still great to see him.

  7. I've heard all good things about this one. It's on my wishlist too!

  8. Jonathan Safran Foer can do no wrong in my eyes. ;) I loved this book too - even though, as you say, it got much more mixed reviews than Everything is Illuminated did. Great review!

  9. I loved this one too, mostly because of Oskar. How can you not love the little guy?

  10. @Letter4no1: Oh I think that whether or not other people like his book, there's no denying how good of a writer he is. He's definitely talented and one-of-a-kind!

    @StephTheBookworm: Let me know if you decide to read it, I'd love to hear what you think!

    @Greg: Thank you! Just like what I said to Letter4no1, I really think that whether or not people like his book, there's just no denying that he's a great writer -- one of my favorites!

    @Jen G: I'm glad you loved it too! :) And yes, I have to agree, Oskar steals the spotlight! Simply put, he's awesome.