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Senior Book Discussion: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

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Book Reviews

[Foer's] depiction of Oskar's reaction to phone messages left by his father as he awaited rescue in the burning World Trade Center, his description of Oskar's grandfather's love affair with Anna and his experiences during the bombing of Dresden—these passages underscore Mr. Foer's ability to evoke, with enormous compassion and psychological acuity, his characters' emotional experiences, and to show how these private moments intersect with the great public events of history. Michiko Kakutani - New York Times

Oskar's unconscious comedy and his poignant search for information about the man who spun bedtime stories out of fantasy and science. All he wants is some way to go back to that moment of sweet security before zealots murdered his father. The tragedy of September 11 has made Oskar older than his years, but in Foer's tender portrayal the grief that weighs him down makes children of us all. Ron Charles - Washington Post

An emotionally devastating climax. No spoilers here, but we will say that the book—which includes a number of photographs and some eccentric typography—ends with what is undoubtedly the most beautiful and heartbreaking flip book in all of literature. Booklist

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Welcome

This incredible book by Jonathan Safran Foer recieved rave reviews. The author manages to tie in a little boy's often sad adventure with the reality of a world event.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Book Trailer

About the Author

•Birth—1977

Where—Washington, D.C., USA

Education—B.A., Princeton University

Currently—lives in New York City

Jonathan Safran Foer was born in 1977 in Washington, D.C. He is the editor of the anthology A Convergence of Birds: Original Fiction and Poetry Inspired by the Work of Joseph Cornell, a Boston Globe bestseller. His stories have been published in the Paris Review, The New Yorker and Conjunctions. He lives in Queens, New York.

Author Interview

About us

Haverstraw King's Daughters Public Library

10 West Ramapo Rd                                                                        85 Main St

Garnerville, NY 10923                                                                      Haverstraw, NY 10927

(845) 786-3800                                                                                 (845) 429-3445

 

Discussion Questions

1. Talk about Oskar—an unusually precious child. Do you find him sympathetic or annoying? Or both?

2. For Shakespeare buffs: Oskar "plays Yorick" (the long dead jester whose skull Hamlet holds in his hand!) in a school production. What is the significance of that role? (See Hamlet: Act V, Scene I, Line 188).

3. Jonathan Safran Foer has said that he writes about characters and their miscommunications: some characters think they're saying a lot but say nothing; others say nothing but end up saying a lot. Which characters fall into which category in Extremely Loud? What might Foer be saying about our ability to communicate deep-seated emotions?

4. Some critics have wondered where Oskar's mother is and how the child is left alone to wander the streets of New York alone at night. Is that a relevant comment? Do you see this book as a work of realism (in which case the mother's role would matter) ... or as more of a fable, on the order, say, of Life of Pi? If the latter, what is Extremely Loud a fable of? (Like Pi, Oskar seems to be a quester—but of what?)

5. Do you find the illustratrions, sribblings, over-written texts, etc. a meaningful, integral part of the work? Or do you find them distracting and gimmicky? Why are they there?

6. How do both main plot and subplot (Oskar's grandfather and the bombing of Dresden) interweave with one another?

7. Is the book’s title a good one?

8. How does Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close relate to life in the U.S. today?

9. Who was your favorite character? Why?

10. How much of a person’s character would you say is shaped by the times in which they live?

11. Were there any passages or scenes that you remember well or particularly liked?

12. Has anyone had any experiences that relate to places or experiences in the book?

Book Discussions at HKDPL

We have two book discussions that meet on the 4th Thursday of each month:

Seniors 1:30 pm

Evening 7:00 pm

For more information, please contact us at (845)786-3800 x18

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