Thursday, July 12, 2012

From the Archives: Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

I began keeping a reading journal several years before I began blogging. I find it interesting to sift through my thoughts of books that I read back then. My reviews were often brief and contained little substance, but I thought it'd be fun to document them here on my blog as well as share them with you. Here is one from September of 2005: 


Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer 
Harper Perennial, 2002 
 Fiction; 276 pgs 

The hero (who shares a name with the author), Alexander the translator, and Alexander’s elderly grandfather as the driver set out on a journey through the Ukraine to find the woman who saved the hero’s grandfather from the Nazis during the second World War. In the novel, the author takes the reader along for the journey, into the hearts of the main characters, and even takes the reader into the past with a glance at the hero’s ancestors. 

The author, Jonathan Safran Foer, has created a beautifully crafted and haunting tale about love and loss. He writes in a style like no other author I’ve encountered, pushing the boundaries of literature and pulls it off successfully. I especially liked the author’s use of language throughout the book. It was not over the top or forced and had a very readable and natural quality to it. The humor that lined the pages in the beginning slowly faded away as the story took on darker tones. The change was subtle, however. Whereas I was chuckling in the beginning, by the end, my eyes welled with tears. 

Perhaps the only fault I can find with the book is that I came away feeling that I still did not know the characters well enough. This is not a book that everyone will take too, not only because of the subject matter but also because of the writing style. I, for one, can be counted among those who loved it.

Source: I own the book.


© 2012, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

16 comments:

  1. I have heard varying things about this one, and am not certain if I would go for it or not. I loved his second book, and had thought of giving this one a try, but the negative press held me back. Now that I know that you liked it, I might consider it in audio. Very refreshing review today. It's good to hear another side to the story.

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    1. Heather - I'm so glad I wasn't blogging when I read this one. LOL It might have influenced my opinion of it. I really need to read his second book.

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  2. I just may have to give this one another look!

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    1. Staci - It seems to be one of those books people have mixed opinions about, that's for sure. It's not for everyone.

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  3. I am looking forward to reading this (someday). I have seen a tiny bit of the movie and turned it off to read the book first. I think I might like it.

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    1. Care - I have done that so many times! Started watching a movie, realized it was a book and turned it off to save until after I read the book. And then it takes me forever to read the book. LOL I hope you like it when you get to it!

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  4. I want to read this one and see what I will think of his writing style.

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    1. Kathleen - I like his writing quite a bit. At least in this book. He definitely falls more in the "literary" category in terms of fiction.

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  5. I've had this one on my TBR list for awhile now. I keep meaning to pick it up but never do. I'm going to at some point though...especially after reading your thoughts on it :)

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    1. Samantha - I know the feeling! I have quite a few books on my shelf in the same status. Someday . . . :-)

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  6. My son's best friend bought this one last year. I know it's weird that I can remember that but the kid is minoring in English lit so we talk books a lot and I love that this kid I've known since he was nine is buying books I'd like to read. I'm going to have to borrow it!

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    1. Lisa - I'd remember something like that too. :-)

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  7. I bought this at a library sale awhile back, and now I'm thinking I need to make time to read it.

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    1. Anna - It's a really interesting book and I hope you do get a chance to read it!

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  8. Keeping a book journal is a wonderful idea.

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    1. Mystica - I only wish I'd thought to start keeping a journal earlier than I did.

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