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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.
Don't miss Jonathan Safran Foer and Martin Amis at The New Yorker Festival.
©2002 Jonathan Safran Foer (P)2002 Recorded Books, LLC
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Critic Reviews

"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
5 out of 5 stars
By L. Berlyne-Kovler on 12-19-08

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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27 of 27 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Dan on 12-19-07


We first saw the movie which was excellent but in spite of this, the book was recommended by my son as it is very different from the cinema version.

The movie has been "cleaned up" in terms of language and much of the writer's polyphonic style simply didn't show up.

The book keeps all of the themes going at the same time - working from the present and working from the past and meeting in the nazi decimation of Jewish life in the Ukraine. Very powerful - yet Foer keeps an always, ever-slight humor embellishing the work.

The two narrators are simply fantasic and it makes the "reading" even easier to formulate pictures in one's mind.

Highly recommended.

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20 of 20 people found this review helpful

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