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Publisher's Summary

Jonathan Safran Foer's best-selling debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated, wowed critics on its way to winning several literary prizes, including Book of the Year honors from the Los Angeles Times. It has been published in 24 countries and will soon be a major motion picture. Foer's talent continues to shine in this sometimes hilarious and always heartfelt follow-up.

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

Critic Reviews

  • 2005 Audie Award Nominee, Multi-Voiced Performance

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Story

Unique, interesting, tortured

This novel is written from the perspective of three different characters, all of whom have experienced trauma and all of whom live with some level of dysfunction. I found myself thoroughly enthralled in each of the characters and despite the incredible sadness each of these characters faced throughout their life times, I felt myself wanted to know what happened next on their crazy ride (vs. curling up in a ball and crying with them). I whole-heartedly recommend this book!

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Through a child eye

Adults just don't understand what goes on in a child mind after a catastrophic loss. The book held my interest most of the time.

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Rants and Raves

I can understand why this book ended up on Audible's list of "rants and raves." There are parts of the narrative and some of the characters that are truly enchanting. At other times, I truly wondered why the author was off on a particular tangent as some of the detractors in reviews had described.

Still, the book is worth the credit and the balance comes down on the rave side. The boy is too delightful to pass up just because grandma and grandpa are sometimes tedious.

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Hours of dysfunction before solace and hope

I love love loved listening to the gifted little boy's part; other reviews I read made it sound like it was the voices of the other readers that brought down people's reviews, but I thought their readings were well done -- it was the characters themselves who needed help. Oh, so much help. I was very pleased to stick it out to the end, but I cried too much on the way there.
A side note -- this is the only book I've come across that's made the Dresden bombings real enough for me to understand.

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  • Michael
  • kansas city, MO, United States
  • 04-11-09

Favorite....

the author and his wife are gifted.. having them both talking about stories at the same time would be almost as good as this book.. i stared at the 9-11 falling man for awhile after hearing this story.. amazing. i cant wait for more from the author and his wife.. this book puts the extremely loud and the incredibly close in love.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Lyn
  • LADY LAKE, FL, United States
  • 02-07-09

Loved the kid

The young boy in this book is a charmer and the author gets his voice exactly right. The folks he meets on his adventures are equally interesting. However the adults in his life, and their stories, were confused and confusing. I felt there was a deep philosophy offered I just didn't get

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Very Moving

I expected this to be kind of a funny book. I did not expect it to move me to tears and to touch me as deeply as it did. This is a book that you will remember for life. I highly recommend it. If you or your love one has Asperger's Syndrome it will give you compassion for their obsessive ways. We should all have a grandmother like the one in this story.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Bev
  • Alton, IL, USA
  • 10-11-07

Heartbreaking

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.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Extremely good and incredibly touching

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.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Lose track of time

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!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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