A few months ago, my book club decided to read Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. I really loved the book and wanted to read more by Johnathan Safran Foer so when I discovered that he wrote Everything is Illuminated I decided I might as well read it (plus it counted towards my Classics Clubs 50 reads!). I saw the movie a long long time ago and so forget a lot of what happened.
Title: Everything is Illuminated
Author: Johnathan Safran Foer
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: April 1, 2003
Format: Paperback, 276 pages
Source: Borrowed from Library
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
With only a yellowing photograph in hand, a young man – also named Jonathan Safran Foer – sets out to find the woman who may or may 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.
About the Author (from Goodreads):
Jonathan Safran Foer (born 1977) is an American writer best known for his 2002 novel Everything Is Illuminated. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, the novelist Nicole Krauss, and their son, Sasha.
I REALLY wanted to love this book! I got into it thinking it’s by an awesome author, involves Ukraine, and is about a guy who is travelling to Ukraine and has never been before- it has GOT to be good. I can’t really pinpoint why I didn’t really love this book, I just thought it was okay.
Characters: The characters were a hoot- you have Sasha who attempts to speak English but often uses the wrong word, then you have Sasha’s grandfather, Alex, who is “blind” but is the driver, and then you have Johnathan who is an American traveling to Ukraine for the first time and doesn’t speak a lick of Ukrainian. The interactions of the characters was absolutely hilarious!
Plot: The plot was fun- Johnathan was searching for the woman who saved his grandfather during the war and all he has to go on is a photograph and a sentence on the back. The story flips between present day and the past and follows Johnathan’s adventures as well as the adventures of his great-great-great-great grandparents. I usually don’t mind the flipping back and forth between times or perspectives, but for some reason it just didn’t work for me this time.
Writing Style: The book is written really well and has a good flow.