"Everything Is Illuminated" is Jonathan Safran Foer's bestselling novel of a search for truth. It is the inspiration for the Liev Schreiber film, starring Elijah Wood. A young man arrives in the Ukraine, clutching in his hand a tattered photograph. He is searching for the woman who fifty years ago saved his grandfather from the Nazis. ...Read More"Everything Is Illuminated" is Jonathan Safran Foer's bestselling novel of a search for truth. It is the inspiration for the Liev Schreiber film, starring Elijah Wood. A young man arrives in the Ukraine, clutching in his hand a tattered photograph. He is searching for the woman who fifty years ago saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Unfortunately, he is aided in his quest by Alex, a translator with an uncanny ability to mangle English into bizarre new forms; a "blind" old man haunted by memories of the war; and an undersexed guide dog named Sammy Davis Jr, Jr. What they are looking for seems elusive - a truth hidden behind veils of time, language and the horrors of war. What they find turns all their worlds upside down..."An astonishing feat of writing: hilariously funny and deeply serious, a gripping narrative. Extraordinary". ("The Times"). "One of the most impressive novel debuts of recent years." (Joyce Carol Oates, "The Times Literary Supplement"). "A first novel of startling originality". (Jay McInerney, "Observer"). "Showy, smart. Made me laugh a lot". (Susan Sontag, "The Times Literary Supplement"). "It seems hard to believe that such a young writer can have such a deep understanding of both comedy and tragedy". (Erica Wagner, "The Times"). "A box of treasures". ("LA Times"). "Funny, life affirming, brilliant". ("Esquire"). Jonathan Safran Foer was born in 1977. He is the author of "Everything is Illuminated", which won the National Jewish Book Award and the Guardian First Book award; "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close", which is now a major film starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock; and "Eating Animals". He is also the editor of "A Convergence of Birds".Read Less
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The blurbs on the book jackets say it all. Amazing novel, even more amazing since its a first effort. Thought it was would be funny, light and quirky and it was, but it was also surprisingly powerful and the writing is first rate. Great story filled with great characters. The movie version does not do the book justice.
Jan 27, 2011
Buy This for Family and Friends
This is one of the most deeply moving and funniest books I have read in years. The fractured English is a delight and brilliant. Within minutes of finishing it, I purchased it for my daughters.
The title is the giveaway.
Try All is Revealed for the title. Now do you see how very, very clever he is?
Jul 10, 2010
Amazing author, good book
To begin with, Jonathan Safran Foer is, in my opinion, one of the most eloquent, creative, and gifted writers of our time. After reading his more recent novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, I knew I had to read anything and everything he had written, which brought me to this novel. I am sad to say I wasn't as thrilled with Everything Is Illuminated and I was with Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. However, this novel was at times quite profound and weaved enchanting stories that required me to suspend my disbelief, which I had no trouble doing. It delt eloquently with the Holocaust, without being overtly lugubrious, which is often a difficult task. Foer's ability to get into the minds of his characters is astounding, especially through his use of dialect in his Ukranian character Alex. The only thing that was a bit unsettling in this novel was Foer's occasional use of crude language and images. But this is, nonetheless, a novel I would recommend to any reader desirous of a complex, sometimes sad, and truly profound novel.
Mar 18, 2008
Jonhathan Safran Foer displays a huge talent to weave humour with what is a very painfully traumatic time in history, but manages to not make it pityful and pithy, which could have easily been done.
Mar 21, 2007
Insightful look into our connections to the past
Jonathan Safran Foer's debut novel Everything is Illuminated is a rare first book because of its capability to make readers laugh and cry within the span of a few paragraphs
The story follows a character also named Jonathan Safran Foer on his trip to Eastern Europe in search of the woman he believes saved his grandfather from the Nazis during World War II. His tour-guide, Alex, continually mangles English adding humor to the work. The novel intertwines two narratives--Jonathan's search through Eastern Europe and his creation of his grandfather's village's history--which balance each other and end in twist showing the connection of the past and present. The novel contains heaby postmodern influences evidenced in the experimental literary techinques Foer employs.
Everything is Illuminated is beautifully written and incredibly insightful. For anyone interested in the Holocaust or simply the role ancestors play in our lives, Everything is Illuminated comes highly recommended.
Publishers Weekly, 2002-02-04 What would it sound like if a foreigner wrote a novel in broken English? Foer answers this question to marvelous effect in his inspired though uneven first novel. Much of the book is narrated by Ukrainian student Alex Perchov, whose hilarious and, in their own way, pitch-perfect malapropisms flourish under the influence of a thesaurus. Alex works for his family's travel agency, which caters to Jews who want to explore their ancestral shtetls. Jonathan Safran Foer, the novel's other hero, is such a Jew an American college student looking for the Ukrainian woman who hid his grandfather from the Nazis. He, Alex, Alex's depressive grandfather and his grandfather's "seeing-eye bitch" set out to find the elusive woman. Alex's descriptions of this "very rigid search" and his accompanying letters to Jonathan are interspersed with Jonathan's own mythical history of his grandfather's shtetl. Jonathan's great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Brod is the central figure in this history, which focuses mostly on the 18th and 19th centuries. Though there are some moments of demented genius here, on the whole the historical sections are less assured. There's a whiff of kitsch in Foer's jolly cast of pompous rabbis, cuckolded usurers and sharp-tongued widows, and the tone wavers between cozy ethnic humor, heady pontification and sentimental magic-realist whimsy. Nonetheless, Foer deftly handles the intricate story-within-a-story plot, and the layers of suspense build as the shtetl hurtles toward the devastation of the 20th century while Alex and Jonathan and Grandfather close in on the object of their search. An impressive, original debut. (Apr. 16) Forecast: Eagerly awaited since an excerpt was featured in the New Yorker's 2001 "Debut Fiction" issue, Everything Is Illuminated comes reasonably close to living up to the hype. Rights have so far been sold in 12 countries, the novel is a selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club and a main selection of Traditions Book Club, and Foer will embark on an author tour expect lively sales. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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