Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, By Jonathan Safran Foer

Deafening reverberations from 9/11

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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – reissued to tie in with the release of the film – received a mixed response when it was published in 2005. Some called it a masterpiece while others saw it as too saccharine. The truth is somewhere in between.

The book centres on Oskar, a boy who lost his father in 9/11, and beautifully captures his distinctive voice (feeling sad is like wearing "heavy boots"). As he travels New York in the wake of his loss, he meets a series of deftly drawn oddballs, and there are moments of pathos. But Jonathan Safran Foer's bombastic literary flourishes and pervading sentimentality become tiresome. One is left desiring something a little less loud, and a little more detached.