Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Book - 2005
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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.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2005.
ISBN: 9780618329700
Branch Call Number: FOER J
Characteristics: 326 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm.


From Library Staff

LPL_SarahM Jun 20, 2018

Nothing about this book is my normal cup of tea. I shy away from 9/11 books and movies; I prefer linear stories; I don't always love to have tales about Hiroshima, Dresden, and terrorism all packed into one book. HOWEVER, I loved this and I love Oskar Schell forever.

From the critics

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multcolib_susannel Dec 31, 2019

When his father dies in the 911 Trade Center bombing, 9-year old Oskar begins to investigate clues that he is sure will lead him to a hidden message.

Jul 01, 2019

Extremely gimmicky and incredibly annoying, full of boring, pointless, extremely illogical nonsense. A skillful writer could have created a profoundly moving 9/11 story, but this was just an incredibly awful waste of paper. The movie may convey what the book cannot.

Groszerita May 26, 2019

Extremely sweet and incredibly intriguing. Oskar is an interesting character and fascinating to follow throughout the book. I also enjoyed the photographs that accompanied the novel.

Jan 04, 2019

This is an interesting work on the consequences of 9/11 on a little boy whose father died when one of the towers collapsed. Messages from dad on the answering machine try to encourage the listener to be positive and not worry, but Oskar, his son, is not really comforted. He fears what his mother will feel when she hears them and quickly decides to get a new identical phone and hide the one with the messages. The story of how Oskar tries to solve a puzzle he is sure his father left him involves many strangers who, curiously, spend time with him and help him. His mother is surprisingly calm about the running around alone or with strangers of her 9 year old son. All is revealed in the end. Either very precocious or somewhere on the Asperger's Scale, Oskar is a very perceptive and articulate young boy who will steal your heart. Interesting side story of the renter and grandma, and how that fits in with Oskar's story.

LPL_SarahM Jun 20, 2018

Nothing about this book is my normal cup of tea. I shy away from 9/11 books and movies; I prefer linear stories; I don't always love to have tales about Hiroshima, Dresden, and terrorism all packed into one book. HOWEVER, I loved this and I love Oskar Schell forever.

PerthEastLibrary Nov 29, 2017

Perth East Public Library Book Club met last night to discuss this selection. Most found it hard to follow and took exception to the author's liberties taken with proper grammar. One member watched the movie then resumed with reading the book and was able to make more sense of things. It generated good discussion and we all shared what we were doing at the time we learned of the 9/11 tragedy.

HCL_staff_reviews Oct 09, 2017

A moving, creative and intriguing tale in which suspense, history, family, and humor all converge. Not enjoying tragedy, I largely avoid books and images about 9/11. So it was with trepidation that I picked up this novel in which a 9-year-old boy's father is killed in that event. But I am SO glad I did! Readers who enjoyed "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" will surely enjoy this, as the boys' voices are quite similar. — David L., Southdale Library

Aug 25, 2017

Beautifully written, insightful, and imaginative. His works, and this one is no exception, create constellations of events and characters and culminate in emotionally profound ways. Safran Foer is one of the contemporary greats.

SCL_Justin Jul 23, 2017

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is Jonathan Safran Foer’s September 11th novel. It’s about an odd boy whose father died in the World Trade Center. He finds a key in a vase with the word Black on it and decides to go talk to all the people with the surname black in New York. It takes 18 months. There’s also the story of his grandfather and grandmother layered in. It’s all right, but not something I’d rabidly recommend to someone who wasn’t specifically looking for a 9/11 story.

Apr 16, 2017

I actually saw the movie first, which was interesting; I liked the modern parts but not so much the historical/flashbacks/grandmother and Renter's stories. seemed to drag on. I would rate Oscar's narration as a 4 and the rest as a 2.The writing style is definitely interesting. Some of the twists in movie weren't in book, and vice versa; Ron wasn't in movie. Maybe I have short attention span, but felt movie was much cleaner/tighter!

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Aug 28, 2017

"And how can you say I love you to someone you love?" - 314

PimaLib_BeccaB May 07, 2015

“In bed that night I invented a special drain that would be underneath every pillow in New York, and would connect to the reservoir. Whenever people cried themselves to sleep, the tears would all go to the same place, and in the morning the weatherman could report if the water level of the Reservoir of Tears had gone up or down, and you could know if New York is in heavy boots.”

booklady413 Oct 16, 2013

"You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness." page 180

Jul 04, 2012

That's always been my problem. I miss what I already have, and I surround myself with the things that are missing.


Add Age Suitability
Jul 22, 2014

beatrice81 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Jun 06, 2012

Nina_ thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 15 and 99

Dec 29, 2011

JENBOI thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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Dec 29, 2011

very wierd but interseting book.

Lauren Aug 06, 2008

Meet Oskar Schell, and inventor, Francophile, tambourine player, Shakespearean actor, jeweler, and pacifist. He is nine years old. And he is on an urgent, secret search through the five boroughs of New York. His mission is to find the lock that fits a mysterious key belonging to his father, who died in the World Trade Centre on 9/11.

An inspired innocent, Oskar is alternately endearing, exasperating, and hilarious as he careens from Central Park to Coney Island to Harlem on his search. Along the way he is always dreaming up inventions to keep those he loves safe from harm.What about a birdseed shirt to let you fly away? What if you could actually hear everyone's heart beat? His goal is hopeful, but the past speaks a loud warning in stories of those who've lost loved ones before.

As Oskar roams New York, he encounters a motley assortment fo humanity who are all survivors in their own way. He befriends a 103-year-old war reporter, a tour guide who never leaves the Empire State Building, and lovers enraptured or scorned.

Ultimately, Oskar ends his journey where it began, at his father's grave. But now he is accompanied by the silent stranger who has been renting the spare room of his grandmother's apartment. They are there to dig up his father's empty coffin.


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