Forum: Arts / Books

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
By BloodyDanceToesmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Thu Sep 22, 2011 07:26 PM
Edited by BloodyDanceToes (50660) on 2011-09-22 19:26:54 I R ENGLISCH MAJER.

I'm an English major, and this semester has me reading a LOT of books (I have 12 in the next 4 months to read). The realism period is on the verge of killing me, but my post-modern and contemporary novels are amazing.

Latest one?

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer.

While I feel my teacher had a bit of a tacky moment in making us read this book on the weekend of September 11th, I ended up loving it, while crying with it.

Here's a summary:

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 naïvely 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.


If you have not read this, I greatly recommend it. It's not as sappy and emotional as I'm making it seem. It's funny and sappy. =)

7 Replies to Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

re: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
By Peridotmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Sep 22, 2011 07:31 PM
I read this several years ago and fell in love with it. It is hands down one of the most unique and best books I've ever read. I heard they were making a movie, too! :D
re: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
By BloodyDanceToesmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Thu Sep 22, 2011 07:33 PM
I heard that (I think there's an IMDB page for it), but I haven't researched it. I can't imagine they'd be able to portray Oskar at all. Or the letters. Some books make great movies. I don't think this will.
re: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
By Live_on_Broadway
On Thu Sep 22, 2011 07:39 PM
Jonathan Safran Foer is one of my favourite authors. I loved this book, and I loved Everything Is Illuminated even more. I refuse to see the movie versions of either one!
re: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
By Cienmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Sep 22, 2011 08:16 PM
^I thought the movie version of Everything is Illuminated actually did a really good job of making the plot easier to understand for non-readers, while keeping the integrity of the story.

And ohhh, how I love Extremely Loud. Such a great book.
re: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
By Boogledoomember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Fri Oct 21, 2011 03:24 PM
I LOVE this book, I thought it was absolutely amazing and I recommend it to anyone who'll listen to me. I actually did like Everything is Illuminated as a film, but I can't see this one working. Have you seen who's in it too? really not seeing it working which upsets me quite a bit.
re: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
By MarlaSingermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Oct 21, 2011 07:16 PM
I remembering loving this when I read it, and I even gave a copy to a friend as a gift, but now I barely remember it. Guess that means it's about time for a re-read! :)
re: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
By BloodyDanceToesmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sat Oct 22, 2011 08:09 AM
I actually just ordered 2 copies from Amazon, and am having them shipped to my mother and my best friend. They're avid readers as well, and I can't wait for them to read this!

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