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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  - Jaycob - Goodreads

Some people call Jonathan Safran Foer a gimmicky writer. Whatever, maybe I just love the gimmick. This is a one of a kind book. The way Foer plays with the English language in Alex's sections is ... Read full review

Review: Everything is Illuminated

User Review  - Andrew - Goodreads

Jonathan Safran Foer is a creative genius. His stories bear some resemblance to reality but transcend the limitations of space, time, or reason. He plays with the stability of language through Alex, a ... Read full review

Review: Everything is Illuminated

User Review  - Kevin - Goodreads

This is a difficult book to review. Within Everything is Illuminated there are two, interwoven stories; one a straight-forward and mostly humorous, the other a heavily stylized work of magical realism ... Read full review

Review: Everything is Illuminated

User Review  - Kevin Zevallos - Goodreads

Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer is a very creative novel that is based on the author's own experience in the Ukraine. The main character, also Jonathan Safran Foer,goes to Ukraine in ... Read full review

Review: Everything is Illuminated

User Review  - Ryan - Goodreads

What a strange novel – especially for a first-time novelist, busting anew on the scene. Most critics I've found support one of two responses: Foer is pretentious, gimmicky, and takes too many ... Read full review

Review: Everything is Illuminated

User Review  - Konstantin Boyanzhu - Goodreads

Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer is a touching tale of friendship, family, loss, and love. This book evoked a wide range of emotions from me. The parts written by Alex were downright ... Read full review

Review: Everything is Illuminated

User Review  - Felicity - Goodreads

What can I say about this book? At times it touched me so very deeply, while at other times, especially during Foer's history of Trachimbrod, I felt a little bored. Not all the time, I hasten to add ... Read full review

Review: Everything is Illuminated

User Review  - Corny - Goodreads

At times incredibly moving and at other times incomprehensible, Foer's first novel is totally original in both plot and style. The author manages to keep three different plot threads going, writing ... Read full review

Review: Everything is Illuminated

User Review  - Stephen M - Goodreads

Brod "would never be happy and honest at the same time". Dear Mr. Foer, Your novel was so beautiful, it's hard to express my true feelings for it. Thank you. I was really moved by this book in so many ways, I feel much less alone in the world. Read full review


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