Extremely Loud and Extremely Close is a novel published and released in 2005. The novel was written by renowned author, Jonathan Safran Foer. The novel’s main protagonist is Oskar Schell, an extraordinary lad of nine years who is inspired by a key that he finds in his deceased father’s vase to embark on an extensive search across New York City looking for information on the key. Some of the main characters in the novel include his mother, his grandparents and a host of other support characters.
Through the funny and precocious narration of the nine year of Oscar, the author takes a reader through a journey that explores how the death of Oscar’s father affected him and his family in general. Oscar’s father died in 9/11 terrorist attacks. The grandparents of Oscar were witnesses to similar attacks that happened during the First World War. The various consequences associated with these horrendous deaths marks the main character’s psyches throughout the novel. This is done in different but in equally sad and painful ways.
The various characters display various reactions to their psychological and individual pain. For instance, Oscar’s grandfather refuses to speak at all. He also vows to never love again. Oscar on the other hand hides his pain by engaging in various physical activities that distracts him from the emotional pain that he is going through. Oscar’s mother is one of the characters who is very hard to understand. Her husband’s death makes her to withdraw from a lot of human contact including her own child, Oscar, therefore leaving him to fend and cater for himself.
Some of the major themes explored in the novel include mourning, trauma, family and the general struggle between self-preservation and self-destruction. Oscar’s grandparents go through extreme trauma after the bombings of Dresden. Oscar on the other hand goes through similar trauma after his father’s passing. Although he doesn’t show it in public, Oscar goes through a mind battle of both self reservation and destruction as he seeks answers about his father’s death.
The novel is tremendously bold and energetic. It manages to tackle the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Dresden bombings and also takes the reader through a general tour of New York. By engaging in a city wide search for people with the name Black, Oscar is essentially trying to heal his pain. Through this experience, the author of the novel tries to address and express different myriad ways in which people attempt to find some peace after they have been faced with or have experienced tragedies that are non-negotiable.
Another distinguishable aspect of this novel is the language used. The author employs a relatively simplistic language that can be understood by pretty much everyone. The author’s use of ambiguity in the novel is very limited. This ensures that the message that he is trying to express is straightforward.
In summary, the novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is an artistic novel that incorporates both present and past events to present a formidable argument to the readers. I would highly recommend it to everyone who professes to be a lover of written art.
Foer, J. S. (2005). Extremely loud & incredibly close. Boston, Mass: Mariner Books.