Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Jonathan Safran Foer was born in the splendid year of 1977, in Washington D. C. He was educated at Georgetown Day School, a private high school. Around this time, he wanted to be a brain surgeon, and one could argue that his fiction does indeed mess up your mind. He claims to have been the tallest person in his neighbourhood, yet he is apparently now of average height. Although brought up in all the trappings, he was never much moved by Jewish tradition, despite being drawn to the works of Jewish authors such as David Grossman, Phillip Roth and Bellow.

When Jonathan was a child, he would visit his grandmother’s house, where he was would be hauled into the air for a hug upon arriving and leaving. Only later did he realise that his grandmother had been weighing rather than hugging him, an unconscious reflex action left over from the Holocaust. While at a summer camp aged 8, he was one of several victims of an explosion from a botched attempt to make sparklers. This caused some trauma for him that has affected his later writing. He went to Princeton as a philosophy major, where he looks to have won all the Writing Thesis Prizes.

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One of his teachers, and his mentor, was the novelist Joyce Carol Oates. He won the Zoetrope All Fiction Story Prize in 2000. Jonathan called on his professors for assistance as he sought entries from established writers for “Convergence of Birds” (2001), his homage to the dioramas of Joseph Cornell. It was in 1999 that he made his legendary trip to the Ukraine, on a mission to find the woman who saved his grandfather’s life during the Second World War. He did not find her, but he did discover a plague relating the destruction of the shetl of Trachimbrod, and the tale of a drowning in the Brod River.

And so his first novel, “Everything is Illuminated”(2002), was born. It was a difficult birth, as 6 agents rejected it, and none of the publishers in New York were interested when it was first submitted. Although the novel’s main character was called “Jonathan Safran Foer”, his journey to the Ukraine only formed the foundations of the novel. It tells of Brod and Trachimbrod, the mad squire Sofiowka, the Kolker, the Wisps of Ardisht, Greenwich Shtetl, and many famous nightclubs. “The Very Rigid Search”,an extract from the novel, was published in “The New Yorker” in 2001.

Everything is Illuminated” garnered a lot of praise, and Jonathan won The Guardian First Book Award, the National Jewish Book Award, and it was named Book of the Year by the Los Angeles Times. The movie of the novel is due to be released in September 2005, and stars Elijah Wood. Jonathan’s second novel,“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”, was released in 2005. It relates 9-year-old Oskar Schell’s reaction to the events of 9/11. 2005 also saw Jonathan writing a libretto for an opera called “Seven Attempted Escapes from Silence”, which premiered in Berlin in September.

Jonathan’s brother, Franklin Foer, is a senior editor at The New Republic. Jonathan Safran Foer has made a short film called “If this is Kosher” against the slaughter practices of modern factory, which he considers to be outside of the spirit of the kosher laws. Jonathan Safran Foer lives in Brooklyn with a Great Dane called George, and his wife, the novelist Nicole Krauss.


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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. (2016, Oct 22). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/extremely-loud-and-incredibly-close-2/