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Everything Is Illuminated is the first novel by American author, Jonathan Safran Foer. This novel is written in three “voices”. The story of Jonathan Safran Foer’s search, in the Ukraine, for the family who rescued his grandfather from the Nazis during World War Two is narrated by the translator who accompanied him, Alexander Perchov. Alex claims to be “fluid” in English, and enhances his narration with the use of a Thesaurus provided by Jonathan. Jonathan also sends Alex sections of a slightly bizarre novel he is writing about his ancestors, in particular his great great great great great grandmother, and his grandfather. And finally, included are Alex’s letters to Jonathan which relate occurrences in his family’s life, comment on the sections of the novel and respond to corrections to the narrative that Jonathan has suggested. Whilst ultimately a holocaust novel, Safran Foer manages to inject plenty of humour with his characters (the “blind” grandfather driver with his seeing-eye bitch, Sammy Davis Junior, Junior; an ancestor with a blade in his head; a young Ukrainian with an ambition to be an accountant, who is saving to go to America by eschewing nightclubs in favour of the beach), with his fantastic eighteenth century Polish-Ukrainian Jewish shtetl full of whacky inhabitants and customs, and with the often hilarious results of generous if totally misguided use of a Thesaurus. The Thesaurus-enhanced narrative clearly demonstrates the importance of context. Clever, even if it is a bit pretentious.  

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

User Review  - Jane - Goodreads

Very creative writing style. May not be for everyone because it is a bit hard to follow at first. Read full review

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

User Review  - Jaye Donnelly - Goodreads

Okay so it's more of a 3.5 because it's a bit hard to follow, but the farther you get the easier it is to follow. The writing is absolutely beautiful, it's funny and the story is awesome. (The switching around gets a bit hard to follow like I said, but it gets easier). Read full review

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

User Review  - Rebecca - Goodreads

I liked Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close better, but think the structure of this story, with one narrator, two writers, and a lot of different stories, was really interesting. A lot of times ... Read full review

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

User Review  - Mark Peters - Goodreads

It kind of annoyed me but I have to applaud the form and language despite my reservations. I've never seen the Holocaust portrayed in this way and have to give him marks for originality. Read full review

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

User Review  - Kim Russell - Goodreads

An unusual and often humorous novel, with narrator who speaks very strange English that takes a while to get used to, and with a range of weird and interesting characters. At times poignant, the novel ... Read full review

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

User Review  - Marta - Goodreads

Great book, really worth reading - touching to the bone, informative and clever. It will make you laugh, it will make uou cry, it will make you wonder. Totally recommend it! Read full review

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

User Review  - Rani - Goodreads

Alexander Perchov is a young man who lives with his parents, younger brother, Igor and grandfather in Ukraine. He serves as an interpreter for Jonathan Safran Foer who is searching for a woman ... Read full review

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

User Review  - Jeff Latz - Goodreads

Beautiful language that is challenging, yet rewarding to wrap your head around. I've never before read a story is at once so hilarious and heartbreaking. Read full review

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

User Review  - Kenneth - Goodreads

Read it in a few days. I really liked it! Especially the crossover of both the timelines. It moved me, provided some laughing-out-loud-in-public-transport-occassions and I can recommend it to anyone. Read full review


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