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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  - Adam Woodard - Goodreads

I loved it. The style is good and the fact that one of the narrators isn't a native English speaker lends some humor to his writing. A bit sad, a bit of love, and some adventure. Highly enjoyable. Read full review

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

User Review  - Pamela Mikita - Goodreads

I really enjoyed this book, he is my kind of writer. I only gave it four stars because I felt the book was too "busy". There was so much going on, distant past, more recent past, letters, stories. All of it was good to read but I felt it could have been reigned in a little. He is a gifted writer! Read full review

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

User Review  - Beth Kiesel - Goodreads

Finally, a book I could sink my teeth into after weeks of drudgery reading. Foer is certainly an ambitious young author. Many find him pretentious and cocky, and I admit I do see that in his writing ... Read full review

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

User Review  - JK - Goodreads

It took me a while to understand the fragmented style of this novel - I almost gave up on it after only a few pages, but I am so glad I persevered. I fell in love with it, and then it broke my heart ... Read full review

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

User Review  - Emily - Goodreads

I was really excited to read this book having loved 'extremely loud and incredibly close' this book took me a while to get into, as it is difficult to read in parts due to the constant changes in ... Read full review

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

User Review  - Jeff Lacy - Goodreads

Dialect is used which gives the story humor, but its novelty wore off on me by the middle of the novel. I got it. This was a different way of telling a Jewish Nazi Holocaust story, and Foer has ... Read full review

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

User Review  - Thomas Bartlett - Goodreads

Sometimes laugh out loud sometimes sad as all hell. Definitely lives up to the title. Read full review

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

User Review  - Karen Young - Goodreads

Odd book. But I really loved the story of Alex and "the hero". I listened to this on CD and the reader is outstanding. The parts read as Alex are just hysterical, so well read. I was laughing out loud ... Read full review

Review: Everything Is Illuminated

User Review  - Julie EilÚn - Goodreads

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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