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3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THIS BOOK GAVE ME "HEAVY BOOTS" Aug. 16 2013
By Buggy TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Reviewers seemed to either think this book was "absolute genius" or not be able to finish it. I fall somewhere in the middle because while as a whole it was haunting and unforgettable some sections were a struggle to get through.

Told from the mind of nine year old Oskar Schell, we enter his world about a year after the "The worst day" and subsequent death of his father during the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Centre. It soon becomes apparent that Oskar is not your average nine year old. He is an inventor, a collector, musical prodigy, lover of Shakespeare, Stephen Hawking's pen pal and a detective. And his IQ and differences (possibly some form of autism or Asperger's syndrome) set him apart from his peers.

His father nurtured his above average intelligence, creating intricate mysteries for Oskar to solve and he felt closer to him than anyone, which is why he is having such a hard time coming to terms with his death. Oscar can't sleep and is continually inventing ways to stop buildings from falling to the ground. He has also developed rules that make it easier for him to function in the world and not "wear heavy boots" i.e.-feel anxious. He only wears white clothes, won't go above the 6th floor in buildings, won't ride elevators or ferries and gives himself bruises when he feels particularly anxious or lies about something.

One day while smelling the clothes in his father's closet Oskar stumbles upon a blue vase and in turn a key and a letter that simply says "Black". Taking it upon himself to solve this one last mystery Oskar sets off to find information about the key. After going through the phone book Oskar discovers that there are 472 people with the name Black living in New York, surely one of them will know something about the key.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative and wide in scope and emotion Aug. 23 2009
By J. Tobin Garrett TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
As with Foer's first novel, Everything is Illuminated, he uses multi-character narratives and weaves them together to create a disorienting, but ultimately connected set of stories that culminate in a great ending. Although some may call Foer's writing gimmicky with its use of letters, historical bending, images, and stylistic flourishes, he manages to use these for a purpose rather than simply as a way to show off his Writing 101 skills. I'm not sure if he can sustain this for a third novel, as it would be nice to see him evolve.

The story follows the aftermath of a boy who loses his father in the 9/11 towers, but also includes scenes from WW2 and the history of the boy's family. The boy finds a key from his late father and goes in search of what the key opens. In this way the story has elements of a mystery, kind of an elementary detective story with a child as the protagonist. We meet a huge cast of quirky and oddball characters, who have charming conversations and strange personalities. Reading this novel is like piecing a puzzle together, where in the beginning there are so many pieces that you're sure they can't all belong to the same puzzle image, but sure enough as you piece them together and keep going a strong and united image emerges.

A better novel than his first one, I would say. More daring and authentic. Heartbreaking as well as hilariously funny in parts. It has been a novel I have thought about well after finishing it, and I'm sure I'll read it again one day.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "It's always necessary" June 15 2006
Format:Paperback
This is a beautifully written book about loss & recovery, and expression & humanity within relationships. The way we do & do not communicate with each other. The last few chapters & the ending will pull you by the heart & will not ask for mercy, it is so fulfilling.

There are two types of books: when finished a book & someone asks you how it was, you tell them what it was about; the second type of book, when finished, you can only describe how it made you feel.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is the latter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The book is good but the movie is better Dec 28 2012
By Barry Francis TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer, is incredibly close to being a great read. The plot is imaginative and both funny and sad at the same time. Although highly compelling, the book falls short in its excessively lengthy and complex story line which would have benefited from some skillful editing.

The main character is nine-year-old Oskar Schell, a whip-smart boy whose father died in the world trade center on 9-11. Oskar has an especially close relationship with his father, who may suspect his child has Asperger's Syndrome, and stimulates him with challenges, puzzles and mysteries.

An aspiring inventor, Oskar imagines amazing creations, collects random photographs for his scrapbook and sends numerous letters to famous scientists, including Stephen Hawking.

Let off school early on that fateful day, Oskar cannot bear to pick up the phone for his father's last desperate calls which are recorded on the family answering machine. Driven by guilt and sadness, he hides the machine from his mother. In the aftermath, he finds a key hidden in his father's things in an envelope marked "Black."

Believing that the key will somehow unlock a mystery devised by his late father, Oskar sets out to speak to everyone in New York named Black, aided by his mute grandfather (a survivor of the WWII bombing of Dresden). His goal is to find the lock that matches that mysterious key.

Using a complex indexing system that he devises, he undertakes this seemingly impossible task that brings him into contact with a range of interesting people in an exhilarating, often hilarious, and ultimately healing odyssey.

Some reviewers think the book is exploitive of the 911 tragedy. I don't. The incredible trauma caused by that event is an essential element of the plot.

My advice: If you like the book, see the movie. It's what the book could have been.

Barry Francis
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Not at all what I expected....better!
The most unusual mystery I've ever read. This is one of those unique stories that is one of a kind.
I'm not going to spoil it by discussing the plot. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sylvia Holt
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Unique
The thing that I will remember most about this book is how poetic the author's style is. The layout of this book reminds me of a poem with it's quirky grammatical style, and... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Farrah
1.0 out of 5 stars Some very unnecessary aspects
I was really looking forward to this book....and, therefore, was very disappointed. I am not sure a young child should be wandering the streets of New York alone. Read more
Published 10 months ago by 3bunnies
3.0 out of 5 stars Book is good, Shipper isn't
I really enjoyed this novel, but I had bought it used to save money. Usually, used books still are perfectly fine. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Jenna Mazur
2.0 out of 5 stars Precious, overly amused with itself
September 11th and the Holocaust are two subjects that are easy use if you are an author looking to add emotional weight to your novel, but are difficult to use well. Read more
Published on Jan. 16 2012 by Mary Lavers
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving
The story relates the effort of a nine year old boy in finding information on a key left by his father, who died in the 9/11 attacks. Read more
Published on Feb. 1 2011 by S. Lavigne
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read
Safran Foer is one of today's finest writers. The voice of Oscar in this novel is at once true and endearing. Read more
Published on Jan. 14 2011 by Jennifer A. Kirkwood
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect
One of the only books that I've shed tears to. Oskar's adventurous proclivities and over-sensitivities are perfectly patched together with NYC and its 9/11 wounds.
Published on Aug. 21 2010 by SBuckle
5.0 out of 5 stars Sadly Hilarious
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was a book I picked up and put back in bookstores several times before a well-timed stint with the flu created the opportunity (ie: time and... Read more
Published on April 16 2009 by A Good Read
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book of all time
I had to read this book for a english class on the fiction of 9/11. I fell in love with it. I am an avid reader and I have yet to read a book that has moved me like this one has. Read more
Published on Feb. 17 2009 by Heidi Murphy
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