Everything Is Illuminated

  • by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Narrated by Jeff Woodman, Scott Shina
  • 11 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Humor and pathos are deftly woven together in this remarkable New York Times best seller that has won sweeping critical acclaim. USA Today calls Everything Is Illuminated "a hilarious yet heartbreaking tale of family and discovery".Jonathan is a Jewish college student searching Europe for the one person he believes can explain his roots. Alex, a lover of all things American and unsurpassed butcher of the English language, is his lovable Ukrainian guide. On their quixotic quest, the two young men look for Augustine, a woman who might have saved Jonathan's grandfather from the Nazis. As past and present merge, hysterically funny moments collide with great tragedy, and an unforgettable story of one family's extraordinary history unfolds.

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What the Critics Say

"An impressive, original debut." (Publishers Weekly)
"Nearly everything about this remarkable book is illuminated....Although there's plenty of lyrical acrobatics here, with exquisite magic realism intermingling with Alex's uproarious narration, it's the emotional depth of the characters that stands out." (Booklist)
"Read it, and you'll feel altered, chastened -- seared in the fire of something new." (The Washington Post)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Original format, playfully done

Excuse the alliteration, but this book has heart, history, and histerical moments. It is one of those books that leave me feeling like a different person.

This is told by two narrators-- the actual author and his Ukranian guide, both of whom take turns writing the story. An exciting element is that we also get to hear their letters to each other discussing the writing of the story. Malapropisms abound from the Ukranian, sometimes to an irritating degree, reminding me why Balky from 80's tv didn't stay famous long. However, the guide grows, learns and eventually becomes a more interesting writer than the author.

The author, a Jewish man seeking out the woman who rescued his grandfather from the Nazis, remakes the history of his grandfather in such a surreal manner it seems Biblical if is wasn't so devilishly playful-- and harsh. The guide describes the events he and the author have in their search, both being driven around the guide's own grandfather, an eccentric man who swears he is blind (remember, he is he driver) and needs his inept seeing-eye dog, Sammy Davis Junior Junior. Getting a sense of the tone?

I highly recommend this book-- one of those rarities where you learn history, love the characters and laugh all the way through (there goes the alliteration again... sorry).
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- Christopher

What a brilliantly original work!

This is a bold, complex and original novel filled with black humor and clever prose.The writer presents us with two interlocking stories: the first deals with a very amusing correspondance between Jonathan Safran Foer and his Ukranian translator (who is a kind of Borat type character with his atrocious but hilarious misuse of the English language). The second story is a mystical epic depicting the life and ultimate destruction by the Nazis of a Jewish shtetl in the Ukraine where the writer's ancestors lived.
The humor, clever prose and perfect use of two narrators to depict the different voices and accents make it a thoroughly enjoyable audiobook.
A word of warning: it took me a while to get used to the quick paced, multi layered style and at first I found myself having to relisten to certain parts to make sure I'd understood (particularly the magical happenings in the shtetl). So be sure to give this book a sufficient chance - when I did I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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- L. Berlyne-Kovler "LK"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-04-2005
  • Publisher: Recorded Books