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4.4 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Penguin (2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141025573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141025575
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 13 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 889,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Not since Anthony Burgess's novel 'A Clockwork Orange' has the English language been simultaneously mauled and energized with such brilliance and such brio." -- Francine Prose, New York Times Book Review New York Times Book Review Notable Book
"Read it, and you'll feel altered, chastened -- seared in the fire of something new." -- Washington Post The Washington Post
"Comedy and pathos are braided together with extraordinary skill in a haunting debut. . .riveting intensity and originality." (Starred) Kirkus Reviews
"A certified wunderkind at 25 . . .a funny, moving...deeply felt novel about the dangers of confronting the past and the redemption that comes with laughing at it, even when that seems all but impossible." -- Time Time Magazine
"It's wonderful to think that the very young Jonathan Safran Foer...can be writing so well and with such lofty aspriation. It will be wonderful if he writes many more books." -- Adam Begley, The New York Observer Observer
"A book that illuminates so much with such odd and original beauty." -- Daniel Mendelsohn, New York New York Magazine
[A] dazzling literary high-wire act . . . brilliant . . . The payoff is extraordinary: a fearless, acrobatic, ultimately haunting effort" -- Janet Maslin, New York Times The New York Times
"[An] enormously impressive first novel . . . Everything is illuminated, indeed, by this talented artist's furious, glorious starburst of prose." -- Dan Cryer, Newsday (New York) Newsday
"Maybe two or three times in a lifetime, a book transcends its genre to become experience. Everything Is Illuminated is an event of this order." -- Dorothea Strauss, Baltimore Sun About.com
"A zestfully imagined novel of wonders both magical and mundane. . .He will win your admiration, and he will break your heart."--Joyce Carol Oates
"Extraordinarily gifted. . .this young man also happens to possess something approaching wisdom. Don't just check him out. Readi

"Not since Anthony Burgess's novel "A Clockwork Orange" has the English language been simultaneously mauled and energized with such brilliance and such brio." -- Francine Prose, "New York Times Book Review, " Notable Books of 2002
"Read it, and you'll feel altered, chastened--seared in the fire of something new." -- "Washington Post "
"Comedy and pathos are braided together with extraordinary skill in a haunting debut . . . riveting intensity and originality." -- "Kirkus Reviews, "starred review
"A certified wunderkind at twenty-five . . . a funny, moving . . . deeply felt novel about the dangers of confronting the past and the redemption that comes with laughing at it, even when that seems all but impossible." -- "Time"
"It's wonderful to think that the very young Jonathan Safran Foer . . . can be writing so well and with such lofty aspriation. It will be wonderful if he writes many more books." -- Adam Begley, "New York Observer"
"A book that illuminates so much with such odd and original beauty." -- Daniel Mendelsohn, "New York Magazine"
"[A] dazzling literary high-wire act . . . brilliant . . . The payoff is extraordinary: a fearless, acrobatic, ultimately haunting effort." -- Janet Maslin, "New York Times"
"[An] enormously impressive first novel . . . Everything is illuminated, indeed, by this talented artist's furious, glorious starburst of prose." -- Dan Cryer, "Newsday"
"Maybe two or three times in a lifetime, a book transcends its genre to become experience. "Everything Is Illuminated "is an event of this order." -- Dorothea Strauss, "Baltimore Sun"
"A zestfully imagined novel of wonders both magical and mundane . . . He will win your admiration, and he will break your heart." -- Joyce Carol Oates
"Extraordinarily gifted . . . this young man also happens to possess something approaching wisdom. Don't just check him out. Read him." -- Russell Banks
"It is one of the best novels I've ever been fortunate enough to hold in my hands." -- Dale Peck
"One of the most impressive first novels in a long time . . . this book is, as its name implies, brilliant." -- Adrienne Miller, "Esquire"
"Madcap virtuosity . . . takes big risks but reaps big rewards, affirming the human spirit in such profoundly triumphant fashion . . ." -- Don McCleese, MSNBC.com
"J. S. Foer's "Everything Is Illuminated "is a novel intricate in structure, fantastical in its story, and irreverent in a hundred different ways." -- Nathan Englander
"A writer of magnificent energy and obvious talent." -- "Newark Star-Ledger"
""Everything Is Illuminated" is often brilliant." -- "San Francisco Chronicle"
"[A] stunning debut . . . So put off your plans to write the next Great American Novel--Foer's beaten you to it." -- "Maxim"
"Without a doubt, Jonathan Safran Foer's first novel, "Everything Is Illuminated, "establishes him as one of the best young novelists around . . . A generosity of vision that is one of the true marks of a great writer." -- "Time Out New York"
"Have you ever found, after finishing a completely awesome book, that you have so many competing impulses about what to do next that you become frozen by excitement? That is how I feel right now. One thing I want to do . . . is tell every single one of my friends that I have just finished reading "Everything Is Illuminated, " an amazingly funny, adventuruous and powerful novel . . . I was dumbstruck with amazement and joy." -- "Vancouver Sun"
"He has given us a deeply resonant work that could only be the first great American Jewish novel of the twenty-first century." -- "Jewish Daily Forward"
"Foer has written a glittering first novel . . . with great humor, sympathy, charm and daring. Every page is illuminated." -- Jeffrey Eugenides
""Everything is Illuminated" is not only an extraordinary addition to novels about the Holocaust, but also the most impressive first novel I've read in years." -- Sanford Pinsker, "Hadassah Magazine"
"A rambunctious tour de force of inventive and intelligent storytelling . . . Foer can place his reader's hand on the heart of human experience, the transcendent beauty of human connections. Read, you can feel the life beating." -- "Philadelphia Inquirer"
"Inventive, boisterous." -- "Memphis Commercial Appeal" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

Imagine a novel as verbally cunning as "A Clockwork Orange," as harrowing as "The Painted Bird," as exuberant and twee as "Candide," and you have "Everything Is Illuminated" . . . Read it, and you'll feel altered, chastened seared in the fire of something new. "Washington Post" With only a yellowing photograph in hand, a young man also named Jonathan Safran Foer sets out to find the woman who might or might 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. As their adventure unfolds, Jonathan imagines the history of his grandfather s village, conjuring a magical fable of startling symmetries that unite generations across time. As his search moves back in time, the fantastical history moves forward, until reality collides with fiction in a heart-stopping scene of extraordinary power. A rambunctious tour de force of inventive and intelligent storytelling . . . Foer can place his reader s hand on the heart of human experience, the transcendent beauty of human connections. Read, you can feel the life beating. "Philadelphia Inquirer" [insert author photo] JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER is the author of the "New York Times" bestseller "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, " and a work of nonfiction, "Eating Animals." His books have won numerous awards and have been translated into thirty-six languages. He lives in Brooklyn." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 29 Dec. 2005
Format: Paperback
Jonathan Safran Foer takes literary risks and entertaining leaps in his debut novel, "Everything is Illuminated," an amusing chunk of magical realism. It's a tragicomic experience, centering on the devastation of the Holocaust, and a modern-day quest for the past.
A young Jewish American man -- same name as the author, Jonathan Safran Foer -- travels to the Ukraine. His reason: to locate Augustine, a woman who apparently saved his grandfather from the Nazis... only he just has a photo to guide him. He's accompanied by an annoying, flatulent dog, and an old man haunted by war memories.
He also corresponds with the old man's quirky grandson Alex, and new revelations are made about both young men through their letters. And in the third story-line, we are treated to the history of Trachimbrod, an endearing shtetl full of peculiar people... which was destroyed by the Nazis long ago.
"Everything is Illuminated" seems to be primarily about the past and present, and how those two things connect. To twentysomethings now, World War II seems as distant in some ways as the Trojan War, unless brought to life by someone else's words. Foer may not have been there during the Holocaust, but his unique novel will leave you thinking and wondering about the past.
It's certainly an unconventional story. Foer has a quirky, offbeat style that gets a little off-kilter. And he bends everything from his narrative to the characters to the English language ("spleening"?). Not to mention reality -- by naming his alter ego Jonathan Safran Foer, he blurs the line between fiction and reality. Is this based on anything real? Does Alex exist? Is there a Trachimbrod? At the end of the day, none of it matters.
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Format: Paperback
The eccentric and attention-seeking graphics of the bookjacket convey the idea that this book is fresh, daring, kooky, and inventive--and the book is all these things! But it is also serious and thoughtful, touching on universal themes and the essence of what makes us human. With young "heroes" who are sometimes both earnest and sweetly vulnerable, the book contains moments of profound melancholy, as well as deep sadness, behind its bravado and its finger-snapping brio.
Jonathan Safran Foer, a character bearing the same name as the author, is looking for the woman he believes saved his grandfather Safran from the Nazis. Traveling to the Ukraine, he meets Alex Perchov, a young man representing a Ukrainian travel agency which specializes in taking tourists to the sites of vanished shetls. Alex, a not-quite-fluent translator, and his "blind" grandfather, who serves as the driver, travel with Jonathan to the site of Trachimbrod, his family's village, collecting stories and legends which will help Jonathan learn about his family and his Ukrainian Jewish heritage.
Parts of the book are a bit sophomoric. (How many farting dog jokes does one need? And do we really need to know the details of Grandfather Safran's 132 mistresses?) The fictional Jonathan's letters and comments as he writes a novel about his trip are an artificial device for dealing, perhaps, with the author's uncertainties and/or heading off criticism, while the chapters he includes for Alex's review, are, of course, the actual chapters of this book. And Alex's misuse of language, while often very funny, begins to pall after numerous repetitions.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One thing is clear: for both readers and critics, this is a Marmite-type book. People either love it or hate it. I happened to love it; I found it wonderfully well written and funny in some places, tragic in most. I don't mind admitting it made me cry, and I thought about it for a long time after I finished reading it. The fact that the writer was a mere boy (JSF was 21 when he published this, his first novel) made it, for me, an even more interesting read. For once, I thought the praise on the books's blurbs were absolutely right.

However, I can also understand why people could hate this mixer-upper of a novel. It is experimental in places, some parts can feel pretentious and utterly pointless and they contribute nothing to the story (which is already so meandering, it can drive you bonkers). The book actually annoyed me at the very start, and in fact has two or three starts, all of them just as annoying, so kudos to JSF for keeping me reading! Plus, 'Everything...' has semi-magical realism strands, or is often simply plagued by juvenile exaggeration. Much of it is thoroughly unconvincing. You have to forever suspend your disbelief, both for the parts that happen in the present, and for the parts that happen in the distant past.

The only sections where, sadly, no suspension of disbelief is required, are the events involving the Nazi extermination of Jewish people, and the clear indication that the Russians and the Ukrainians treated the poor Jewish folk no better. These parts are realistic and convincing and the story is told as tragically and as full-on emotional, I thought, as it ought to be.

All in all, I reckon it's a miracle this novel got published, but I for one am very happy it did. It is good to see that intelligent, unusual, challenging books still get a chance in our commercial, saccharine, short-attention-span culture. 'Everything ...' is an uneasy but very worthwhile read.
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