Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is a precocious Francophile who idolizes Stephen Hawking and plays the tambourine extremely well. He's also a boy struggling to come to terms with his father's death in the World Trade Center attacks. As he searches New York City for the lock that fits a mysterious key his father left behind, Oskar discovers much more than he could have imagined.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a masterfully imagined novel from an author Time hails as "a certified wunderkind".
©2005 Jonathan Safran Foer; (P)2005 Recorded Books, LLC
"Piercing and so funny." (The Bookseller)
"[Oskar's] first-person narration of his journey is arrestingly beautiful, and readers won't soon forget him." (Booklist)
"Jonathan Safran Foer's second novel is everything one hoped it would be: ambitious, pyrotechnic, riddling, and above all...extremely moving. An exceptional achievement." (Salman Rushdie)
"Brilliant....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." (Publishers Weekly)
This is the story of Oscar, a child who has learned what loss is all about, who knows regret and guilt at an age when children should not feel these things. Greatly affected by 9/11 and the fire bombing of Dresden, Oscar's family are trying to hold on to some sense of normal. Oscar himself, is a charming and disarming child, your narrator, a bright boy that is looking for a lock that will fit a key that was his father's. This is a touching story of love, loss, pain and patience.
Beautifully read. I was not a fan of his first book but loved this one. It reminded me a lot of his wife's book "The History of Love" in style and pace. Highly recommended.
The writing is stylistically similar to "Everything is Illuminated", though is more grounded in reality rather than fantasy. Jonathan Safran Foer has an amazingly fertile imagination, and these readers make his words sing!
I am very glad I read/heard the book. However, I struggled initially with the narrator's voice but eventually got used to his style. And, I also wavered back and forth from enjoying the story to sometimes not liking it. Jumping back and forth from the grandparent's story to the boy's was at times jarring. I read it for a book club and we were all surprised how much this book inspired discussion afterwards. There were many intense, heartbreaking passages. I think I was able to appreciate the story by being able to hear the inflections of the narrator. Other book club members who read the book said there was a lot of wonderful images in the printed book that helped communicate some of what the characters were experiencing.
My instincts told me to quit as soon as I heard the narrator doing a silly nine year old approxomation- but I gave it a chance anyway. Now that I'm thru- I see why you should always listen to your instincts.
If ever there was an assemblage of unbelievable characters, this is it. That doesn't mean it's not worth reading. I recall a few English Lit professors who would have thought this perfect for analysis. What do all the characters' foibles really mean?
To be fair, this isn't the kind of book I normally download. I thought the narration was excellent and the storytelling techniques, e.g., the letters, were interesting. I even found some of the characters entertaining, but not in the least believable. That said, their pain came through truthfully.
In the end, I am going out on a limb to say you probably never read/heard a book like this, so it's an experience you might enjoy on that merit if nothing else.
Don't miss this book. The story,narration-it was wonderful. Oscar will not be soon forgotten. His intensity, his pain,his ability to love-I am so glad I listened to this book.
This was a good book. I enjoyed it every much. It was well written and entertaining. I looked forward to returning to it every evening. The narrator was good as well. Do order this story.
Of all of the audio fiction I have listened to, this has been the best so far. Jonathan Safran Foer , the author of the book, is the first genius in creating the delightful character of Oscar Schell, an eccentric, gifted, and sarcastic child who is mature beyond his years, but held back by the boundries of childhood. The actor who reads his character creates a perfect Oscar.
Listening, you are torn by wanting the lighter observations of Oscar, as the plot gets darker and darker, revealing multi-generational tragedy.
Though it is terribly sad in many parts, this book is equally delightful in the eccentricities of Oscar and the Schell family.
You will miss this one when it's over.
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