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. Lit by passion, fear, guilt, memory, and
hope, the characters in Everything Is Illuminated mine the black holes of
history. As the search moves back in time, the fantastical history moves
forward, until reality collides with fiction in a heart-stopping scene of
extraordinary power. An arresting blend of high comedy and great tragedy, this
is a story about searching for people and places that no longer exist, for the
hidden truths that haunt every family, and for the delicate but necessary tales
that link past and future. Exuberant and wise, hysterically funny and deeply
moving, Everything is Illuminated is an astonishing debut.
2002 Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year
2003 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist
2003 Saroyan Writing Prize
2004 PEN/Robert Bingham Award
2002 National Jewish Book Award
2003 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award
2003 Reform Judaism Prize for Jewish Fiction Finalist
New York Times Book Review - Francine Prose
Not since Anthony Burgess' novel A Clockwork Orange has the English
language been simultaneously mauled and energized with such brilliance and such
An impressive, original debut. Forecast: Eagerly awaited since an excerpt
was featured in the New Yorker's 2001 "Debut Fiction" issue, Everything Is
Illuminated comes reasonably close to living up to the hype.
Library Journal - Molly Abramowitz
Generations become united across time in this fanciful tale, as Foer, the
author, gives the reader a contemporary version of 19th-century Jewish drama one
that blends laughter and tears. Recommended for all libraries.
Comedy and pathos are braided together with extraordinary skill in a
haunting debut, a tale that depicts, with riveting intensity and originality, a
young Jewish American writer's search for his family's European roots.
Booklist - John Green
It may be a pretentious title for a 24-year-old's first novel, but nearly everything about this remarkable book is illuminated. Jonathan. Foer...may be
young, but he's no pretender.
New York Magazine - Daniel Mendelsohn
A book that illuminates so much with such odd and original beauty.
Newsday - Dan Cryer
[An] enormously impressive first novel . . . Everything is illuminated, indeed,
by this talented artist's furious, glorious starburst of prose.
The Washington Post
Read it, and you'll feel altered, chastened -- seared in the fire of something new.
A certified wunderkind at 25 . . .a funny, moving...deeply felt novel about
the dangers of confronting the past and the redemption that comes with laughing
at it, even when that seems all but impossible.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Cloggie Downunder clever, even if it is a bit pretentious Everything Is Illuminated is the first novel by American author, Jonathan Safran Foer. This novel is written in three “voices”. The story of Jonathan Safran Foer’s search, in the Ukraine, for the family who rescued his grandfather from the Nazis... Read More
Rated of 5
by solveig steinhardt amazing, surprising and surrealistic Sometimes it made me laugh and sometimes it made me cry.
I loved the way it's written, the surreality of the story, the numerous surprises in every chapter. Did not love the ending... it's not as authentic as the rest. But i think everyone should... Read More
Research shows that 90% of Americans value public libraries(Dec 11 2013) According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, about 90% of Americans aged 16 and older said that the closing of their local public library would have an...