When people ask me, what is it like to be Jewish? What is your religion and culture about? This is the novel I point them to. Equally, if not more, powerful in audiobook format, Everything is Illuminated remains one of my favorite books, and perhaps the only one that will, without fail, bring me to tears.
Wonderful story. Poignant and clever. And the narrators were the best that I've yet heard here on Audible- I will look for other pieces they narrate. Definitely a great experience.
Retired teacher and interpreter. I read classic and contemporary fiction, as well as Mystery/Suspense/Horror, Fantasy&Sci-fi.
With over 200 Audiobooks under my belt...er, earphones... I have to say that there are really only a handful that are just completely absorbing, utterly enjoyable...for me, this is one of those books.
I own the paperback, and I loved the film, (which is a different creature altogether) but the narration adds a dimension here that was really enjoyable. I'm sure my neighbors thought I was insane for a few days there, since I was wandering around with my headphones on, cackling, chortling, giggling, guffawing, weeping quietly and laughing uproariously again...
What a fantastic novel.
Aviation geek, computer & database geek, bad hockey player, recovering CPA
Sheesh, just finished it. It's a really weird novel that is really compelling - listening to it you get to the point you just gotta know how it's going to go although, eventually, you realize it's not going to go well. This feels like a work that must have taken a lifetime to write, there are so many twists and so much symbolism. Much of this, I'm afraid, I probably didn't completely get. In a way, listening to this audiobook is like attending a momentous event - you love it and you might not understand all of it but it's fascinating and really significant to you that you were there.
The moments recalling the Nazi destruction of the shtetls were horrifying and, yet, compelling.
How could Alex, the younger, not be anyone's favorite character?
It's very unusual that, in a lot of ways, this book starts as a funny comedy and ends as a horrible tragedy. If you just want comedy, listen to the first half. If you just want tragedy, well, you kinda got to listen to the first half to understand what's going on. Oh, what the hell, just listen to the whole thing.I still don't get it all and I wish that more of it were wrapped up cleanly at the end. (who was Augustine? Was the woman who showed them where Trockenbrod had been really the sister she talked about? ...). Nonetheless, it's a book that makes you think endlessly. This one will stay with me for a long time.
'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.