Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a novel by Jonathan Safran Foer. It is the story of nine-year-old Oskar Schell, an imaginative but troubled boy who lost his father in the attacks of 09/11. The story follows Oskar's attempt to make peace with his father's memory through a series of fanciful quests. In the end, Oskar learns there are no easy answers, even to the most important questions.
Written in the first person, the narrative switches between the perspectives of Oskar and those of his grandparents. It eschews chronology to explore different time periods, and uses a variety of imagery and innovative formatting to explore various perspectives on tragedy.
The novel was published in 2005 by Mariner Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It has been named as a New York Times Bestseller and an ALA Outstanding Book for the College Bound. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was adapted into a 2011 film starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. The film was nominated for several awards, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor at the 2013 Academy Awards.
However, the novel received mixed critical reviews upon its publication. John Updike’s 2005 review of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, written for The New Yorker, praises Foer’s imaginative storytelling but suggests that the novel’s core message is lost amid the clutter of visual distractions.
The novel has remained popular since its publication, and is frequently read in both high schools and colleges.