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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

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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    386
  • 4 Stars
    314
  • 3 Stars
    215
  • 2 Stars
    122
  • 1 Stars
    97

Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    390
  • 4 Stars
    179
  • 3 Stars
    77
  • 2 Stars
    33
  • 1 Stars
    32

Story

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    245
  • 4 Stars
    195
  • 3 Stars
    138
  • 2 Stars
    71
  • 1 Stars
    65
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

I just didn't like it.

The story is moving, but I haven't enjoyed it.
many loose ends. couldn't really understand the connection between Alex and Jonathan....

I hope you're not dissapointed Jonathan.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

ok

this is my second book by the author. it was OK, I got lost a few times.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Worst book

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Worst book I ever read.

What could Jonathan Safran Foer have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Rip it up

Would you listen to another book narrated by Jeff Woodman and Scott Shina ?

Yes

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

No

Any additional comments?

If my bookclub wasnt reading it, i would have quit.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Depends on What Amuses You...

What would have made Everything Is Illuminated better?

If the writer had built the story more in the beginning, it would have held my interest more.

What could Jonathan Safran Foer have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

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.

What about Jeff Woodman and Scott Shina ’s performance did you like?

I think that the vocal performances were very good. Nice portrayal of foreign accents.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

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.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

I Don't Get It.....

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I would take out most of the boring trivial parts that seemed to ramble on and on.

Has Everything Is Illuminated turned you off from other books in this genre?

No.

What about Jeff Woodman and Scott Shina ’s performance did you like?

Whoever was Alex did a "premium" job! He was hilarious.

Did Everything Is Illuminated inspire you to do anything?

No.

Any additional comments?

Either I missed something or the story left too many questions unanswered. I just do not like stories that end that way.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

I returned this book

Would you ever listen to anything by Jonathan Safran Foer again?

No.

Any additional comments?

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.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Dorothy
  • Rosepine, LA, United States
  • 01-14-12

Missed the illumination

What disappointed you about Everything Is Illuminated?

The complete story was lacking. Somehow I missed the intended concept. I felt that I was supposed to like it because of the weighty subject matter. Failed to illuminate me at all.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Weak effort

The far too numerous flashbacks in this book are always tedious and often pointless. Keep you finger on your iPod's fast-forward button.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • 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 2 people found this review helpful

  • 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