A New York Times Bestseller • Named A Best Book of the Year by the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post Book World, Chicago Tribune, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Rocky Mountain News
Nine-year-old Oskar Schell has embarked on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five boroughs of New York. His goal is to find the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father who died in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11. This seemingly impossible task will bring Oskar into contact with survivors of all sorts of an exhilarating, affecting, often hilarious, and ultimately healing journey.
A starred review indicates a book of outstanding quality. A review with a blue-tinted title indicates a book of unusual commercial interest that hasn't received a starred review.EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSEJonathan Safran Foer. Houghton Mifflin, (368p) 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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Good read, very sad.
Read it in a day. Liked it alot.
The most amazing book I have read to date, it's beautiful and strange, mysterious and smart. A modern day Catcher in the Rye. I couldn't put it down. I have a hard copy at home and a copy on my iPad, I pick it up again and again.
This is one of the most imaginative, emotional, and well-developed novels I have ever read.
This is the kind of the book that makes you nervous to read at first: it's unconventional, it's intricate, and it's not a casual read. But once you find yourself within the story, it engulfs you and is terribly difficult to set down. It's an incredible work of art.