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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  - Goodreads

A magical read packed with true-to-life human experience, emotions, and humor. Safran Foer combines brilliant prose and highly personable characters creating a memorable joy to read. I especially ... Read full review

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

User Review  - Goodreads

Liked this a lot. More tightly written and less sprawling than M. Chabon's books though with a similar flavor and humor. Interestingly, my book club didn't like this as much as Doerr's All the Light ... Read full review

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

User Review  - Goodreads

A bit of a slow start, I found it hard to get into it... It seemed unconvincing, but once you get into it it is good. Not quite 5 star good because of the beginning and the very very end which I think could be better done, but a good read on the slightly unusual side. Read full review

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

User Review  - Goodreads

The quirky narration alone makes this book worth reading. It had me laughing out loud. Read full review

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

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I read this book because the film based upon it is one of my favorites. The maxim held true, the book is definitely better but it in no way diminished my love of the film. The format in which the ... Read full review

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

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Many parts of this book are rigid to follow, and I will have to re-read it to clutch all of the connections between the many threads that the author is weaving. But I found the tortured English of the ... Read full review

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

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This is the kind of book -- one with multiple, inter-connected stories -- that I find myself fighting against sometimes. But when I just relax, and let myself go with it (even if I don't understand it ... Read full review

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

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lovely! Read full review

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

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This is one of the strangest and most beautiful books I've ever read. I think I'll have to read it several times to understand everything, but I loved it even if I didn't understand every little ... Read full review


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