Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer

I'm not quite sure how to review this book, except to say I loved it to pieces. Foer's novel is very post-modern, so it is hard to give it a traditional review. This is a book about making sense of the world around you, coping with loss and learning how to live. 
It was one of the the best days of my life, a day during which I lived my life and didn't think about my life at all.
As I mentioned, it's hard to offer a traditional review of this novel, so I am going to offer a list of thoughts:
  • Oskar Schell, the novel's protagonist, is one of the most interesting, hilarious and lovable characters I have read since Nichole Krauss' Leo Gursky (The History of Love). 
  • This book has more passages that I underlined and circled than any book I've read to date. Foer's prose is beautiful and truthful, and speaks to the reader in a way that makes the ideas very relatable. 
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is my favorite piece of fiction I have read so far this year.
  • This is one of those books that reminded me why I love books so much. 
Some of my favorite passages:
"I've thought myself out of happiness one million times, but never once into it."
"sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I'm not living."
"I thought, it's a shame that we have to live, but it's a tragedy that we get to live only one life, because if I'd had two lives, I would have spent one of them with her."
"It made me start to wonder if there were other people so lonely and so close. I thought about "Eleanor Rigby." It's true, where do they all come from? And where do they all belong?"
"Sometimes I imagined stitching all of our little touches together. How many hundreds of thousands of fingers brushing against each other does it take to make love?"
"I regret that is takes a life to learn how to live"
All in all, I truly can't recommend this book enough.

Publisher: Mariner Books, 2005


  1. Now I'm definitely going to pick up this book. Those quotes are wonderful and I trust (from your love of it) the prose is consistently great and not just a series of quotes.

  2. No the prose is amazing. You won't be disappointed. I suppose I cheated a little by just lumping all those quotes together, but it's just one of those books you have to read and I wanted to get that feeling across. Anyhow, I'm glad you are going to read it and I look forward to your thoughts. It really is amazing. Dare I say perfect?

  3. I love Jonathan Safran Foer and I love that you used quotes to sum up the novel... I'm always marking off those little passages that make a book so meaningful for me, and I think using them is a great way to capture how a book moved you. PS. Did you know that he and Nicole Krauss are actually married?

  4. SO. GOOD. I really need to read this one again.

  5. Laura, I did know that! It's crazy how similar their writing is. I love it.

    historyofshe, I know i'll probably reread it someday. It's so great.

  6. Definitel a book I need to pick up!! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!

  7. I agree. I laughed and cried. The History of Love had a similar effect on me and was also a favorite. Oskar's reference to "heavy boots" whenever he was feeling anxious or upset was so creative and authentic.
    P.S. I see you're reading Ethan Frome, which is another of my absolute favorites. Wharton's winter imagery is inspiring and suffocating, simultaneously.

  8. Jen, You're welcome :)

    Beth, I agree - that reference to "heavy boots" was so heartfelt and sincere. Gosh I want to reread it right now! And Ethan Frome, I've only heard good things and it's one of those books I feel like I should read. I'm only 2 chapters in but so far, you're right. Her imagery of winter is beautiful and spot on.

  9. I've seen so many good reviews of this lately, I definitely think I'm going to have to read it!

  10. I too have seen quite a few good reviews of this book just in the last few days it seems...I'll have to add this one to my ever growing TBR pile as well ;)

  11. Amanda and Peppermint, You've got to read it! Seriously.

  12. I'm jealous, I want to read a book that will make me feel like that again!

  13. Ben, I know they don't come around too often. When I picked up Ethan Frome I was a little upset because I knew it wouldn't be as good as the one I just finished. I'm going to hunt own Everything is Illuminated soon.

  14. I'm so glad you loved this one, I did too. Books like this are what make reading 10 duds worth it. Such a beautiful book.

  15. I tried reading Everything is Illuminated recently and while it cracked me up quite a bit, I got bored (gasp) and picked up something else.

    Good to know you liked this one, makes me think I might be missing something in Jonathan Safran Froer's writing

  16. I was already captivated by this book and your lovely review only makes me want it more....my favourite among the quotes you have mentioned is the second last one :)

  17. Oh, so glad you read this! I loved it. I hope to re-read soon, actually. I brought this and History of Love on vacation with me a few years ago and read them back-to-back (not knowing they were married when I did so). They do write similarly, though - enough that I went and Googled it after I finished both. Hope more people pick this up following your review!

  18. Avid Reader, You are so right.

    Mayowa, I haven't read Everything is Illuminated yet but plan to very soon! I hope to like it more than you did :)

    Vaishnavi, It's really fantastic you have to read it.

    Kerry, I hope so too!