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Everything Is Illuminated | [Jonathan Safran Foer]

Everything Is Illuminated

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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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

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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (808 )
5 star
 (253)
4 star
 (209)
3 star
 (162)
2 star
 (105)
1 star
 (79)
Overall
3.5 (408 )
5 star
 (122)
4 star
 (102)
3 star
 (89)
2 star
 (51)
1 star
 (44)
Story
4.1 (404 )
5 star
 (197)
4 star
 (107)
3 star
 (55)
2 star
 (24)
1 star
 (21)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Dennis SCHAUMBURG, ILLINOIS, United States 01-10-08
    Dennis SCHAUMBURG, ILLINOIS, United States 01-10-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    70
    29
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "wonderful"

    I loved this book. It is witty and fun yet the subject is a very sad one. The characters really are outrageous but down earth at the same time. I would recommend it to anyone! It will really touch your heart.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gail Wurmstein DEL RIO, TX, US 07-04-08
    Gail Wurmstein DEL RIO, TX, US 07-04-08 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    50
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Listen before you give!"

    I really loved this book. It is charming and funny, but I certainly wouldn't recommend it for young teens. For older teens and adults yes, younger teens no! I gave it a single star rating as a kids book but as an adult book it deserves 4 stars. Mentioning certain sexual practices and specific descriptions of the size of anatomical features were very funny for me as an older adult, but perhaps aren't something the average 13 year needs to be reading quite yet.

    10 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aiden Hovde 02-28-12
    Aiden Hovde 02-28-12 Listener Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    49
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointing..."

    The story got off to a very good start. I really enjoyed Alexander's abuse of English idiom. But then the second narrator started speaking and I think the story really needs a voice with an Eastern European accent. It was just completely unsettling to be hearing all the Eastern European names and places in an accent that sounded to me like American mid-West. I really tried to be open and to relax with it and just to listen to the story but I got more and more irritated and ended up quitting, which is a shame because the film version is so good and I thought I'd really love the audio book. Also, I had just finished listening to the author's other book, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," which is my new favorite.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SBC 02-08-12
    SBC 02-08-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    21
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "First time I didn't finish a book"

    I was really disappointed in this book since it got excellent reviews. I found it very difficult to follow and when I could follow it it was boring. The accent was grating and hard to understand. I gave it about 3 hours and then said forget it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon Nahant, MA, USA 06-24-10
    Sharon Nahant, MA, USA 06-24-10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    "Ugh"

    I didn't like this from the first 5 minutes but I gave it 45 min before I deleted it from my ipod. I disliked the narrator and his voice (both literal and literary) and the switch into history confused me. Maybe its a book that's better to read but it was a terrible listen.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tessler Lake Bluff, IL, United States 04-24-10
    Tessler Lake Bluff, IL, United States 04-24-10 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    258
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "variable"

    The part taking place in the modern day is great and hilarious. The part taking place in the past is boring and ridiculous.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gail MISSION VIEJO, CA, United States 01-03-11
    Gail MISSION VIEJO, CA, United States 01-03-11 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    107
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Pretentious"

    I tried listening for a couple of hours, but I just could not empathize with the concierge. She was as pretentious as the upper class patrons of the apartment building that she disdains so much. The girl? So naive, yet she believes she is worldly. Since I could not get into the characters, I could not enjoy continuing to listen to the book. Periodically I would go back to the book to see if it gets better. So far it has not.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Haik Glendale, CA, USA 12-16-07
    Haik Glendale, CA, USA 12-16-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Opens Your Eyes"

    This very original book takes one on a great journey full of warmth, humor, tears, horror and hope. I trully enjoyed listening to every word.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KLBrookline Brookline, MA United States 08-15-05
    KLBrookline Brookline, MA United States 08-15-05 Member Since 2014

    klbrookline

    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    96
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    "Disappointing"

    I read this book because a few reviews of Nicole Krauss' book History of Love mentioned that this book, written by her spouse, was similar. I was sorely disappointed. The two books cover similar themes, but there is simply no comparison to be made other than that. Ms. Krauss' book is beautifully written, and I cared about the protagonist from the first page on. I can't say the same for Everything is Illuminated.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dallas Aurora, CO, USA 04-21-08
    Dallas Aurora, CO, USA 04-21-08 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    70
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    35
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Too boring"

    This book starts slow and grinds to deadly. What humor there is relies completely on malapropisms. After two hours with NO sign of plot appearing, I gave up.

    0 of 6 people found this review helpful

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