Review: ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’ by Jonathan Safran Foer.

I had never heard of this book, or author, until watching BBC2’s ‘My Life in Books’. It was given such a glowing recommendation that I felt compelled to read it.

Nine-year old Oskar Schell discovers a key in a vase that belonged to his father. He doesn’t know what the key means or where it’s for and he can’t ask his dad as his dad died in the 9/11 attacks. Oskar is desperate to find out what the key is for and so goes on a quest to find out. During his search, Oskar encounters lots of different people and finds out a lot more than he ever expected.

This novel is so original, it was a joy to read. Oskar’s voice is so believable and compelling that it is hard to put the book down. Even when I did stop reading, I found myself wondering about Oskar and what would happen next. The characters in the book are so rich and human that they could be standing in front of you. Oskar is such a loveable boy, he’s clever, curious but perhaps a bit too independent for a nine-year-old. His story is also told alongside that of his grandmother and her, possibly imaginary, lodger.

Although I wanted to believe that no parent allows their child to roam around New York City alone, Oskar’s sheer confidence meant that this particular detail didn’t strike me as completely impossible. He’s just so fearless and desperate to find out what this key holds for him.

Foer uses unusual techniques in the book, from photography to overlapping typing. It all adds to the uniqueness of this story, it brings Oskar to life.

I was disappointed in the ending however I feel this was realistic considering the circumstances. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who may read this book but once you have read it, what I’ve just said may make sense.

I’ve just found out that this book is being made into a movie. I hope the movie is half as good. It’s being directed by Stephen Daldry (‘The Hours’) and stars Sandra Bullock, Tom Hanks, and John Goodman. It has a fighting chance, then.

Vic x

Order your copy of ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’ here:


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