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If you’re a fan of audiobooks, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer is a must-listen. This emotional novel is brought to life by a talented voice cast, making for an immersive and unforgettable listening experience. In this review, we’ll delve into the audiobook’s narration, plot, characters, and more to give you a comprehensive understanding of what makes “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” a standout audiobook.

Key Takeaways

  • “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” is a powerful and emotional novel that is well-suited for audiobook format.
  • The voice cast’s performances are top-notch and help to fully immerse the listener in the story.
  • The novel’s use of themes and symbolism adds depth and meaning to the story, making it a thought-provoking listen.
  • “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” has received critical acclaim and awards, further cementing its status as a must-read/listen.

Introduction to “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”

“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer is a novel that tells the story of Oskar Schell, a nine-year-old boy who lost his father in the 9/11 terrorist attack. Published in 2005, the book has received critical acclaim for its emotional depth, unique storytelling style, and exploration of themes such as grief, loss, and communication.

Jonathan Safran Foer, the book’s author, is a well-known American writer who has received numerous awards, including the Guardian First Book Award and the National Jewish Book Award. His other works include “Everything Is Illuminated” and “Here I Am.”

Plot Summary

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The novel “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer tells the story of nine-year-old Oskar Schell, who embarks on an emotional journey following the death of his father in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The novel is structured around Oskar’s search for the lock that matches a key his father left behind, with each chapter revealing a different clue to help him in his quest. Along the way, Oskar meets a range of characters, including his eccentric grandmother and the renter living in his grandfather’s apartment, who each have their own emotional struggles. As Oskar delves deeper into his search, he confronts the traumas of his past and learns to cope with his father’s death, ultimately finding solace in the connections he makes with the people around him.

Character Analysis

In “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” Jonathan Safran Foer presents a deeply emotional story centered around a young boy named Oskar Schell, who sets out on a quest to discover the lock that matches the mysterious key left behind by his father, who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City. Through Oskar’s journey, Foer explores the complex and nuanced psychology of his characters, providing readers with a profound character analysis that adds depth and context to the story.

At the heart of the novel is Oskar, a precocious nine-year-old who struggles with anxiety and grief in the wake of his father’s death. Despite his youth, Oskar is intensely intelligent and perceptive, but also profoundly lonely. Throughout the course of the story, he embarks on a journey that takes him through the streets of New York City and into the lives of strangers, uncovering secrets and discovering unexpected connections. Foer’s skillful portrayal of Oskar’s complex inner world allows readers to empathize with his struggles and triumphs.

Another key character is Oskar’s grandmother, who plays an important role in the story. She is haunted by her own memories of loss and trauma, and struggles to connect with her grandson as he comes to terms with his own grief. Through her interactions with Oskar and her vivid recollections of the past, readers are given a glimpse into the larger context of the story and the impact of historical events on individuals and families.

The novel also features a range of other interesting and complex characters, including the enigmatic “renter” who lives in Oskar’s grandmother’s apartment, and various individuals who Oskar encounters on his quest, such as the mute man who communicates through written notes. Through the use of these characters, Foer creates a rich and multilayered world that invites readers to engage with the story on many different levels.

Narration and Voice Actors

In the audiobook version of “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” the narration work is done by none other than Academy Award-nominated actor, Viola Davis, and Golden Globe-nominated actor, Jesse Eisenberg. Davis lends her signature voice, known for its gravity and depth, to play the female characters in the novel, including Oskar’s mother. Eisenberg, on the other hand, provides a nuanced performance as Oskar Schell, bringing the character’s sensitivity and intelligence to life. With such a talented cast, the audiobook version of “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” is a superbly acted masterpiece.

Besides the quality of performances by the voice actors, the pacing of the narration is also worthy of note. Davis and Eisenberg maintain a steady pace that allows listeners to fully appreciate the novel’s emotional nuances. Additionally, the actors successfully differentiate between the various voices in the audiobook, such as men and women, young and old, and different cultural backgrounds, giving each character a unique voice.

The careful selection of voice actors for the audiobook version of “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” ensures a superb listening experience for fans of the novel. The performances add a layer of emotional depth to the story, making the audiobook version a worthy adaptation that stands out from the novel itself.

Themes and Symbolism

“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” explores several major themes, including grief, trauma, and the human need for connection. One of the most prevalent symbols in the book is the image of the key, which represents the search for understanding and closure in the aftermath of 9/11.

The protagonist, Oskar, struggles to come to terms with the loss of his father and his own feelings of guilt and inadequacy. Through his quest to find the lock that matches the key his father left behind, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery and emotional healing.

The use of symbols throughout the book enhances its meaning and emotional impact. Foer’s writing is rich with imagery and metaphor, inviting readers to explore the depths of their own experiences and emotions.

The book raises thought-provoking questions about grief, trauma, and the search for meaning in the face of tragedy. Its themes and symbolism linger long after the final pages, making “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” a powerful and unforgettable reading experience.

Writing Style and Language

Jonathan Safran Foer’s writing style in “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” is both unique and captivating. His use of non-linear narrative and unconventional typography creates an immersive reading or listening experience that blends together the protagonist’s inner world with his external reality.

One of the most interesting aspects of Foer’s writing is his use of language, which is at times playful, poetic, and blunt. He effectively captures the emotions of trauma, loss, and grief through a combination of sharp and sensitive language.

The audiobook version of the novel benefits from the author’s writing style as well, with voice actors delivering Foer’s prose in a way that enhances its emotional depth and impact. The unconventional typography of the book is brought to life through the actors’ performances, making the audiobook version of “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” a unique and rewarding experience.

Foer’s Writing Style

Writing Style Features Effect on Reading Experience
Non-linear narrative Creates an immersive experience that blends internal and external realities
Unconventional typography Enhances emotional impact of the story
Playful, poetic, and blunt language Captures emotions of trauma, loss, and grief through a combination of sensitivity and directness

Critical Reception and Awards

Since its publication in 2005, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” has garnered significant critical acclaim. The New York Times called it, “a miracle of writing,” praising Foer’s ability to weave together complex narrative threads.

The novel was shortlisted for several awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Ultimately, it won the 2005 Guardian First Book Award, solidifying Foer’s place in the literary world.

Foer’s potent exploration of themes such as grief, trauma, and memory resonated with readers, who found his storytelling style to be both deeply moving and inventive. “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” continues to be regarded as a seminal work of contemporary literature, earning its place among the most unforgettable and thought-provoking novels of the 21st century.


In conclusion, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer is a poignant novel that delves into themes of grief, love, and the human connection. The audiobook adaptation of the novel features exceptional narration by voice actors who bring each character to life. The emotional depth of the story is amplified through the audiobook, making it a truly unforgettable listening experience.

Overall, the audiobook review of “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” is a resounding recommendation for anyone seeking a thought-provoking and heart-wrenching story. The book has received critical acclaim and numerous awards, and it is evident why after listening to the audiobook.

If you are a fan of literary fiction and want to experience a masterpiece in the audiobook format, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” is a must-listen. Its engaging characters, intricate plot, and emotional resonance make it a captivating and unforgettable journey both in print and audio.

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