Everything is Illuminated, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (34 ratings)


"Everything Is Illuminated" is Jonathan Safran Foer's bestselling novel of a search for truth.

It is the inspiration for the Liev Schreiber film, starring Elijah Wood.

A young man arrives in the Ukraine, clutching in his hand a tattered photograph.

He is searching for the woman who fifty years ago saved his grandfather from the Nazis.

Unfortunately, he is aided in his quest by Alex, a translator with an uncanny ability to mangle English into bizarre new forms; a "blind" old man haunted by memories of the war; and an undersexed guide dog named Sammy Davis Jr, Jr.

What they are looking for seems elusive - a truth hidden behind veils of time, language and the horrors of war.

What they find turns all their worlds upside down..."An astonishing feat of writing: hilariously funny and deeply serious, a gripping narrative.

Extraordinary". ("The Times"). "One of the most impressive novel debuts of recent years." (Joyce Carol Oates, "The Times Literary Supplement"). "A first novel of startling originality". (Jay McInerney, "Observer"). "Showy, smart. Made me laugh a lot". (Susan Sontag, "The Times Literary Supplement"). "It seems hard to believe that such a young writer can have such a deep understanding of both comedy and tragedy". (Erica Wagner, "The Times"). "A box of treasures". ("LA Times"). "Funny, life affirming, brilliant". ("Esquire"). Jonathan Safran Foer was born in 1977. He is the author of "Everything is Illuminated", which won the National Jewish Book Award and the Guardian First Book award; "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close", which is now a major film starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock; and "Eating Animals".

He is also the editor of "A Convergence of Birds".




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Showing 1 - 5 of 34 reviews.

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Odd, and a tad long in the "novel" section, but the correspondence part is intriguing, and becomes the stronger side by far, mangled English and all. I couldn't put it down.

Review by

I hope someday Foer will write something this good again. It is a truly transporting and rapturous literary experience.

Review by

I thought I was going to dislike this book because of the gimmicky language, but I actually found it disarmingly charmingly and genuinely moving. Slightly depressing that someone younger than me can write such an amazing book...

Review by

I really did not like this book. It is a rare case that I start a book and am unable to finish it, but it happened with this one. All the story lines were just so unconvincing that I simply couldn't bring myself to care enough about any of them, so I eventually gave up. I realize that I may not be entirely fair here, because it is possible that the later part of the book is better. I can only say that my experience with the first half wasn't enough to make me curious about the rest.

Review by

Not much illuminated for me I'm afraid. One layer of complexity too many I felt and I became frustrated at the amount of work the author was expecting me to do to keep up. The story is about a character whose name is Jonathan Safran Foe who is seeking out his Jewish roots in the Ukraine. He is trying to find the family that saved his gradparents from the Nazis. The book itself keeps leaping back to the mythical origins of the Jewish village. Alex, Jonathan's English-mangling translator and guide is a wonderful humorous character. This novel is much admired and has much critical acclaim but I'm afraid I didn't learn to love it.

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