This thesis sets out to interpret Jonathan Safran Foer’s "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" and Nicole Krauss’ "The History of Love" in the context of recurrent themes in the Jewish tradition. Some of the motifs that can be identified have a biblical origin, which is the case with the paramount images exile and return that have provided me with the title of my thesis. However, the analysis is not restricted to detecting religious connotations, as I aim to see how the novels relate to Jewish culture at large, including the history of the Jewish people and the corpus of Jewish-American literature. An underlying question is how Foer and Krauss can be said to represent a new trend within Jewish-American literature. How is Jewishness retained or recreated in the novels?A second objective of the thesis is to explore to what extent the novels’ representation of loss and exile and the hope for a return to a coherent world can be juxtaposed with psychological theory, more specifically trauma theory. Can the experience of loss that the novels focus on be likened to post-traumatic stress disorder, and can the roads to return described be compared to the stages of psychological recovery?Whereas the first chapter delves into the feeling of exile, the final chapter examines the possibilities for return. The chapter in between revolves around the importance of text in Jewish culture and the ambiguous message the books present on the significance of language, as both causing the feeling of exile and providing the tools for breaking its spell. The overall hypothesis is that a combination of the exile and return metaphors provides the most useful framework for interpreting the novels.