'Everything is Illuminated' is prize-winning Literary Fiction, which means the characters endure the revelations of an 'Examined life' like the way one does the peeling of an onion. There are tears after family history is learned, and romanticizing the past can no longer be sustained. Still, history and family matter. Three stories are told, each of varying degrees of fact, imagination and clarity - a beginning, middle and end - yet eternal.
The two vocal narrators are excellent. The writing seemed like almost post-modern styling, but the book is saved completely from that style of difficult author wit by placing the showboating of flashy word construction into the mouth of a Ukrainian speaking fractured English. The effect is comic, although tragedy eventually sobers everybody up.
If the writer had built the story more in the beginning, it would have held my interest more.
Sometimes, the humor in this book is a bit crude and that doesn't appeal to me. If those kinds of jokes would have been left out, I would have enjoyed the book more. As it was written, I had an automatic reflex to turn it off when those jokes started happening.
I think that the vocal performances were very good. Nice portrayal of foreign accents.
I think if I had been able to stick with it past the first few chapters, I might have liked it. As it was, I was just too turned off by the bad jokes to continue with it.
A frequent listener - mostly to mystery, police procedurals and science fantasy, with a few other bits and pieces thrown in. I live on a farm and run my own technical writing business, and listen to audiobooks while knitting and spinning yarn in my spare time.
Hard to say, but I think eliminating the half of the book that focused on the story of the shtetl by Jonathan. The jumping back and forth was too disruptive for my taste. The parts written by Alex were funny, as were the parts about the dog. I found those sections enjoyable, but the hyper-sexual overtones of the shtetl stories and the bizarre nature of the various groups in the shetl - the people hanging from the ceiling and such. Just way too ridiculous and overdone. I couldn't get into it. I only listened to about the first third, and had to give it up.
I am currently listening to a Jussi Adler-Olsen book and enjoying it immensely.
Alex was funny and endearing. I wish the whole book had centered around him instead of the flip flopping back and forth.
Yes - the sections written by Alex made me laugh at times, and had a poignant side. I thought the narrators did a very good job. I just couldn't tolerate the parts that came from Jonathan's side relating the history of the shtetl. I had to stop listening. This is only the second book that I've given up on in my many Audible choices.
To me, it was as if the book was written by two authors - one I liked, and one I did not. The one I did not like almost completely overshadowed the other. I would be dreading the moment when the story would switch from Alex to Jonathan's "novel" or whatever it was he was writing. I'm now really reluctant to read the other novel by this author that I have already purchased. Disappointing.
I would take out most of the boring trivial parts that seemed to ramble on and on.
Whoever was Alex did a "premium" job! He was hilarious.
Either I missed something or the story left too many questions unanswered. I just do not like stories that end that way.
Rarely do I find my self reading or listening to a book that I find so foolishly nonsensical, objectionable, or profane, that I don't finish listening to it, just to be sure I am not missing something. This book was all of these things, and within 40 minutes I turned it off in disgust and am returning it (a first for me) as soon as I finish this review. I enjoyed the narrator, and the initial introduction of the Ukraine speaker, quickly lost interest when the story went back in history. It just be came too much.
I had trouble putting this book down. The storyline is powerful and the narration carries you right along.
I have not read any book similar to this one unless it compares to some true stories of survival from the Nazis during WWII.
It is a sort of mystery too. However I find it hard to categorize this book. It stands alone.
The narrators are absolutely remarkable. Their voices draw you deeper and deeper into the story.
A Tale of Generations
I came to care for the characters so much that the ending was truly disappointing for me.
I love it's luminescence.
The rendering of the realization that time, and individual history is an illusion.
The most pleasurable listens are those from which you get a feeling that the performer understood the story exactly the way you are learning to understand it yourself, and the experience becomes symbiotic in that sense. That's the feeling I got listening to this book.
All of them.
I loved the movie as well. I am waiting for more works from Foer anxiously. He touches my heart with one hand and my brain with the other, it's an odd and addicting feeling.
I dont know if I would ever read one of his books again, this was a painfully amateurish book.
I loved this book. Everything about it was great! I liked the way the current day events were interwoven with a story one of the main characters is writing about events in the past. It is a very funny book and it is also a touching and many times sad story about events in WW2. The "current day" story is based on real events from the author's recent past. The narrator was really great too. I don't know if the accent is accurate or not but it really does not matter. I think you will really enjoy thie book. I just downloaded one of his other books, Extememly Loud and Incredibly Close and I am loving that one too.