LFG, April 24, 2015 (view all comments by LFG)
Impossibly imaginative and brilliant!
Jonathan Safran Foer writes a caricature of himself into this work, flirting with the fiction/nonfiction divide, weaving the whole thing together with the threads of memory and lineage and imagined versions of ourselves. If only the war hadn't happened, Jonathan might have been Alexi. It's a fascinating, mesmerizing kaleidoscopic book full of Yiddish folklore and unapologetic hyperbole. A must read for visual-linguistic creative thinkers who like non-conformist writing.
lukas, October 29, 2013 (view all comments by lukas)
I have a passionate, possibly irrational hatred of this book. Here's Triumph the Insult Dog's review: "Everything is illuminated. . .for me to poop on!"
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"Review A Day"
by Laura Miller, Salon.com,
"Foer exquisitely executes the book's best jokes: the way that Jonathan's minor flaws — his vanity, his American cluelessness, his tendency to patronize — filter through Alex's admiring portrait of the young man he calls his 'most premium friend' and 'the hero.' As the novel shades inexorably into the tragic mode, and as Alex comes to be a much better writer than Jonathan, with both a finer sense of truth and a more urgent understanding of the need for happy endings, his stumbling English incandesces into eloquence. And that alone is worth the price of admission." (read the entire Salon review)
by Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review),
"Comedy and pathos are braided together with extraordinary skill in a haunting debut."
by Brooke Allen, Atlantic Monthly,
"[A]n inventive but immature fictional excursion, sometimes pleasant, sometimes just pretentious....Much of the novel's humor derives from Alexander's fractured English and his posturing antics. That humor, though bought rather cheaply, is deft, but the too frequent flights of lyricism stink of affectation....[N]ot surprisingly, [the Holocaust] proves to be too big a subject for [Foer's] undeveloped talent."
by Adrienne Miller, Esquire,
"One of the most impressive first novels in a long time....[T]his book is, as its name implies, brilliant."
by Francine Prose, The New York Times Book Review,
"It's hard to get through the first chapters of Everything Is Illuminated. The problem is, you keep laughing out loud, losing your place, starting again, then stopping because you're tempted to call your friends and read them long sections of Jonathan Safran Foer's assured, hilarious prose....Everything Is Illuminated is endearing, accomplished and (to quote Alex one last time) definitely premium."
by Library Journal,
"Generations become united across time in this fanciful tale, as Foer, the author, gives the reader a contemporary version of 19th-century Jewish drama — one that blends laughter and tears."
by Jeffrey Eugenides, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Middlesex,
"Foer has written a glittering first novel...with great humor, sympathy, charm and daring. Every page is illuminated."
by Russell Banks, author of The Sweet Hereafter,
"Extraordinarily gifted...this young man also happens to possess something approaching wisdom. Don't just check him out. Read him."
by Joyce Carol Oates, author of We Were the Mulvaneys,
"A zestfully imagined novel of wonders both magical and mundane....He will win your admiration, and he will break your heart."
by Harper Collins,
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.
A writer journeys to the farmlands of eastern Europe to find Augustine, the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Passionate and marked by an indelible humanity, Everything Is Illuminated mines the black holes of history and is ultimately a story about searching: for people and places that no longer exist and for the tales that link past and future.
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