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Everything Is Illuminated (original 2002; edition 2002)

by Jonathan Safran Foer

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10,972195257 (3.89)290
Member:LynCollett
Title:Everything Is Illuminated
Authors:Jonathan Safran Foer
Info:Houghton Mifflin Company (2002), Hardcover, 288 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Rating:
Tags:TBR

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Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer (2002)

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» See also 290 mentions

English (182)  French (3)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (2)  Italian (2)  German (2)  Spanish (1)  Greek (1)  All languages (195)
Showing 1-5 of 182 (next | show all)
I realize that this is one of those books everyone is supposed to love. Reading the critics' comments on the first few pages of my paperback led me to believe I should expect a life-changing experience. Friends told me that they wept openly in public while reading it.

I came away feeling nothing more than vague annoyance. The sometimes narrator, Alex/Sasha, writes in what I think is meant to be endearingly broken English...but it just made me want to reach through the pages and strangle him. Same goes to nearly everyone else who makes an appearance in this book. I just couldn't care about any of the characters or what was happening to them. Beyond that, I love a book that tells a story, and in doing so may make a point. This book felt to me as if it was striving to make a point first and tell a story second. And I also disliked the descriptions of the wacky fantastical past of Trochimbrod. I understand the intention of trying to draw a clear division of before/after the Nazis, but it only served to make me not believe anything happening. Which I suppose brings me to my final point of dislike, which is that this book constantly reminded me that I was reading. I want to be transported, to believe in the world that the story sets forth for me. And I just couldn't. ( )
  emking85 | Nov 7, 2014 |
I read this hoping it would illuminate some of the things I was confused by in the movie. It kind of did a little, but then there were more confusing unclear things. It was good, but I struggled to connect with the characters. ( )
  jaelikesbooks | Sep 23, 2014 |
I didn't like the book. There was nothing to any of the characters that made me willing to put up with Foer's chaotic style of writing. The experience was rather a chore and a headache to read. ( )
  pussreboots | Sep 21, 2014 |
I really enjoyed the premise of this book and loved the butchered language. This made it so much more interesting, although I could not fully understand some of the words as they were so randomly misused.. However, I felt that it couldn't keep my attention constantly. Of course, this is partially due to the fact that I spent much of my time reading this in 1. Loud environments and 2. Surrounded by so many other books I also want to read. ( )
  marielreads | Jun 20, 2014 |
a bit peculiar but interesting ( )
  cherylwhatley | Jan 20, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 182 (next | show all)
In Everything is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer creates an unflinching plot that hits readers, like myself, who are unaccustomed to such profound writing.
 

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jonathan Safran Foerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Abelsen, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shina, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woodman, JeffNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
Simply and impossibly: For My Family
First words
My legal name is Alexander Perchov.
Quotations
One day you will do things for me that you hate. That is what it means to be family.
The only thing worse than being sad is for others to know that you are sad.
What is wrong with you?
Nothing, I just don't eat meat!
Grandfather informs me that is not possible.
With writing, we have second chances.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060529709, Paperback)

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, Amazon.co.uk

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:54:14 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Hilarious, energetic, and profoundly touching, a debut novel follows a young writer as he travels to the farmlands of Eastern Europe, where he embarks on a quest to find Augustine, the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis, and, guided by his young Ukrainian translator, he discovers an unexpected past that will resonate far into the future. With only a yellowing photograph in hand, a young man, also named Jonathan Safran Foer, sets out to find the woman who may or may not have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Accompanied by an old man haunted by memories of the war; an amorous dog named Sammy Davis, Junior, Junior; and the unforgettable Alex, a young Ukrainian translator who speaks in a sublimely butchered English, Jonathan is led on a quixotic journey over a devastated landscape and into an unexpected past. By turns comic and tragic, but always passionate, wildly inventive, and touched with an indelible humanity, this debut novel is a powerful, deeply felt story of searching: for the past, family, and truth.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141008253, 0141037326

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