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Everything Is Illuminated  By  cover art

Everything Is Illuminated

By: Jonathan Safran Foer
Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
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Publisher's Summary

“Imagine a novel as verbally cunning as A Clockwork Orange, as harrowing as The Painted Bird, as exuberant and twee as Candide, and you have Everything Is Illuminated.... Read it, and you'll feel altered, chastened - seared in the fire of something new.” (Washington Post)

With only a yellowing photograph in hand, a young man - also named Jonathan Safran Foer - sets out to find the woman who might or might not have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Accompanied by an old man haunted by memories of the war, an amorous dog named Sammy Davis, Junior, Junior, and the unforgettable Alex, a young Ukrainian translator who speaks in a sublimely butchered English, Jonathan is led on a quixotic journey over a devastated landscape and into an unexpected past.

As their adventure unfolds, Jonathan imagines the history of his grandfather’s village, conjuring a magical fable of startling symmetries that unite generations across time. As his search moves back in time, the fantastical history moves forward, until reality collides with fiction in a heart-stopping scene of extraordinary power.

“A rambunctious tour de force of inventive and intelligent storytelling...Foer can place his reader’s hand on the heart of human experience, the transcendent beauty of human connections. Read, you can feel the life be." (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Robert Petkoff has appeared on film and TV in Woody Allen’s Irrational ManMadm Secretary, Elementary, The Good Wife, Chappelle’s Show, and Law & Order. His Broadway credits include All the Way with Bryan Cranston, Anything Goes, Ragtime, Spamalot, and Fiddler on the Roof. Mr. Petkoff is an Audie and Earphones award winner.

©2002 Jonathan Safran Foer (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Everything Is Illuminated

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  • Overall
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movie and book

It's odd that this book is more interesting because I watched the movie first. May be my opinion alone. But I love that the movie became the outcome of their letters. It's Alex's story, the movie has the image of him as who he wants to be seen as. His family is the better versions he begs Jonathan to write of. It made the book beautiful to me. Heartbreaking too. Some rant parts were a little much, but genius piecing together.

1 person found this helpful

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Terrible

Only listened for ten minutes. Couldn’t stand to hear more. Why would anyone want to?

1 person found this helpful

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If you like the movie, you won’t like the book.

This is one of those rare cases where the movie outshines the book. call me crazy but the author writing about the sexual exploits of his grandparents. It’s a little weird. especially given the level of detail. I don’t think it added anything to the story.

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Astonishing

First, the narration was perfect. It not only did justice to, but elevated the story.
The story. I don't even know how to classify it. It was wise, funny, daring, imaginative, sweeping, terrifying, heart -breaking.

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Um, what?

I went into this knowing that I know a lot of people who love JSF. And there was a lot to love here…. Until the last few chapters.

This novel reads like an origami project that you carefully fold and unfold and retold from different angles to get to your final project… but in the last five folds decide it’s too complicated and just make a cliche airplane and chuck it across the room.

The story is slow to present itself, then intricate and interesting, and then a very rushed cliche pile of shit.

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Spectacular Narration

If ever you’re going to listen to a book, make it this one. The narrator’s performance illuminated this painfully beautiful story.

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Tied

This is my story and the story of my family. But while the characters got caught in the loop, my grandfather broke free and the momentum of that split cast him across the world and into a most remarkable life and illuminated success that has rippled through his generations reverberating in me and my daughters. While still during the hours of the night that find little boys racing through dream worlds, young fathers wondering how they have befallen this fate, tired men wondering about that dark eyed Gypsy woman, and old men sobbing silently, I can feel the tug of the strings as the current of the Broad swirls and twists.