Everything Is Illuminated: A Novel

by Jonathan Safran Foer | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 9780060529703 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Hawaii-Bookworm of Honolulu, Hawaii USA on 11/10/2007
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Journal Entry 1 by Hawaii-Bookworm from Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Saturday, November 10, 2007
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The simplest thing would be to describe Everything Is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer's accomplished debut, as a novel about the Holocaust. It is, but that really fails to do justice to the sheer ambition of this book. The main story is a grimly familiar one. A young Jewish American--who just happens to be called Jonathan Safran Foer--travels to the Ukraine in the hope of finding the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis. He is aided in his search by Alex Perchov, a naïve Ukrainian translator, Alex's grandfather (also called Alex), and a flatulent mongrel dog named Sammy Davis Jr. Jr. On their journey through Eastern Europe's obliterated landscape they unearth facts about the Nazi atrocities and the extent of Ukrainian complicity that have implications for Perchov as well as Safran Foer.

This narrative is not, however, recounted from (the character) Jonathan Safran Foer's perspective. It is relayed through a series of letters that Alex sends to Foer. These are written in the kind of broken Russo-English normally reserved for Bond villains or Latka from Taxi. Interspersed between these letters are fragments of a novel by Safran Foer--a wonderfully imagined, almost magical realist, account of life in the shtetl before the Nazis destroyed it. These are in turn commented on by Alex, creating an additional metafictional angle to the tale.

If all this sounds a little daunting, don't be put off; Safran Foer is an extremely funny as well as intelligent writer who combines some of the best Jewish folk yarns since Isaac Bashevis Singer with a quite heartbreaking meditation on love, friendship, and loss. --Travis Elborough

Journal Entry 2 by Hawaii-Bookworm from Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Tuesday, February 5, 2008
This is my first read by Foer. A very good book. A real journey set out with hope and sadness, humor, unexpected events happen and unanswered questions finally answered.

One of the books from the "1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die" list.

Journal Entry 3 by Hawaii-Bookworm at -- Somewhere, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA on Monday, February 22, 2010

Released 12 yrs ago (2/22/2010 UTC) at -- Somewhere, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- USA

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