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
An Overture to the Commencement of a Very Rigid Journey
My legal name is Alexander Perchov. But all of my many friends dub me Alex, because that is a more flaccid-to-utter version of my legal name. Mother dubs me Alexi-stop-spleening-me!, because I am always spleening her. If you want to know why I am always spleening her, it is because I am always elsewhere with friends, and disseminating so much currency, and performing so many things that can spleen a mother. Father used to dub me Shapka, for the fur hat I would don even in the summer month. He ceased dubbing me that because I ordered him to cease dubbing me that. It sounded boyish to me, and I have always thought of myself as very potent and generative. I have many many girls, believe me, and they all have a different name for me. One dubs me Baby, not because I am a baby, but because she attends to me. Another dubs me All Night. Do you want to know why? I have a girl who dubs me Currency, because...
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