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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
In Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything Is Illuminated) tells the story of a precocious 9-year old boy, Oskar Schell. Oskar is very intelligent and independent, writes letters to Stephen Hawking, designs jewelry, and wanders about New York City wearing only white while playing the tambourine. On 9/11, he discovers the family's answering machine contains 5 messages from his father trapped in the north tower before he dies, and he hides the messages from his mother. Oskar struggles to deal with this inconsolable loss, distancing himself from his mom who eventually finds another man, and dreaming of fanciful inventions that can protect people from harm. When he finds a key in his father's closet with the word "Black" on the envelope holding it. Oskar seaches the city for every family named Black in hopes they can tell him the secret of the key, in hopes of understanding his father better. Oskar's grandmother lives across the street from him, and she struggles with the loss of her son while remembering her own survival during the bombing of Dresden and the damage it did to her family. Jonathan Safran Foer explores the psychological fallout from 9/11 through an unlikely boy whose pain and ideas ring all too true. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close has received high praise with the Rocky Mountain News saying, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a complex, hilarious, tear-jerking and terribly intimate story."