marginalia || Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer

Does it break my heart, of course, every moment of every day, into more pieces than my heart was made of, I never thought of myself as quiet, much less silent, I never thought about things at all, everything changed, the distance that wedged itself between me and my happiness wasn’t the world, it wasn’t the bombs and burning buildings, it was me, my thinking, the cancer of never letting go, is ignorance bliss, I don’t know, but it’s so painful to think, and tell me, what did thinking ever do for me, to what great place did thinking ever bring me? I think and think and think, I’ve thought myself out of happiness one million times, but never once into it.

I want to quote the entirety of Jonathan Safran Foer‘s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Yes, it is a difficult book to write about, to talk about — Having read it, feeling the need to speak about it in any way one can: The recourse is to tell as many people as possible, “Please read this book.” So, well, I won’t even try, not now. I won’t even try, beyond: It was AwesomeSauce. And, of course, “Please read this book.”

I am opening my left hand: YES. That is all for now.

20 thoughts on “marginalia || Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer

  1. Having read this book, I know what you mean. It is simply stellar. I’ve had some years to think about it and I still don’t feel I can appropriately talk about it.

    If you like the author, I can recommend Everything is Illuminated.

    1. I’ve tried reading Everything is Illuminated, but really couldn’t get into it. The book is somewhere in the apartment. But I have it on good authority that Extremely Loud is the better introduction to Foer. I mean, now that I’ve fallen in love with his writing — It still defies my ability to talk about it — I might just give Illuminated another go.

  2. I haven’t read this yet, but loved two other books by Foer that I read. I need to read this soon. See, I’m listening to you ;).

    1. This is the first Foer I’ve read, and it was easier to me to get in to than his two other works. I mean, if you liked those two, I think it’s safe to say that YES YOU’LL LOVE THIS, hee. :]

  3. I read this book last year and liked it a lot, but didn’t love it as much as I had expected. Maybe I read through it too quickly and didn’t take the time to absorb, I just know it didn’t resonate quite perfectly with me, which was a shame. I think I still had his wife’s The History of Love in the back of my mind, which to me is one of those rare perfect novels. I probably need to re-read that one soon to see if it stands up to a second read.

    1. I read The History of Love about two or three years ago — and I liked it well enough, but (as your experience with Foer), I didn’t love it as much as I’d expected. I don’t even remember why; something about the resolution? So, well, I think a reread is in order for me too. In the case of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, well, the love was instantaneous.

  4. I loved this one too, although I probably skimmed over it too quickly, as often happens when I’m really enjoying something.

    Safran Foer is getting a bit of a backlash in the States right now. Some people seem to think he’s (again, that phrase!) emotionally manipulative, but if that’s what it is, I’m falling for it.

    1. I think I know why Foer would get a bad rep in some parts — “gimmicky” writing, is one. And as we’ve rambled about elsewhere, emotionally manipulative is always applaudable if done well. And Jonathan Safran Foer can manipulate my emotions anytime. I am so all for it.

  5. Haha Sasha. I love reading your thoughts and marginalia, but I am starting to think we have very different opinions on the kind of books we like!!

    1. Hahaha, the diplomatic [beauty pageant] answer, I know, would be, “Oh, at least there’s plenty of room for stimulating talk, what with varied opinions.” But what I really want to say is, “NOOOOOO!” [in a British accent]. :] <3

      1. Haha no it’s a good thing! Because reading your thoughts on something I’ve read is like going to a book club meeting. I may have not liked it, but your thoughts can show me something to appreciate about it, or find something that the author did well.

        Except for Foer’s gimmicks of one word pages. I just can’t come around to appreciating that.

        1. The more time I spend away from this book, well, I’m starting to regain the power of speech. I think, yes, “gimmicky” can be a word to describe the guy, but I fell for it because, well, I knew it was integral to the story. I don’t know, but I really love how he used the book’s physicality as a part of telling his story. :]


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