Everything Is Illuminated
by Jonathan Safran Foer
Paperback- $11.90

Everything Is Illuminated is Jonathan Safran Foer's bestselling novel of a search for truth The inspiration for the Liev Schreiber film, starring ...

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  "Half the group gave up." by DubaiReader (see profile) 04/09/08

I quite enjoyed this book. It has a most unusual quirky style that took some getting used to but put off many readers.
It's loosely based on a visit J S Foer made to the Ukraine in search of his ancestors - he came away with nothing, so in that respect this is 99% fiction.
It was a bit confusing and the ending wasn't as I'd hoped but it did make for a good discussion amongst those of us who had read it.
Can't recommend it though as at least half the book group gave up on it and that's not the idea of a good book group read.

  "Excellent!" by danigottschalk (see profile) 01/17/10

I was really worried when I first started reading it. There were so many characters right off the bat and the three different narratives were confusing. But, once I kept reading, I got things straightened out and thought it was a very good book. I especially loved the many different ways that Alex said the phrase, "shitting bricks." I laughed especially hard when he said something like, "he was rebuilding the Great Wall of China with shit bricks." Very funny, but also very sad at the same time. I really enjoyed it.

  "Everything is Illuminated" by Kris_D (see profile) 03/01/10

This book was very hard for me to follow. It did get better towards the end but it took me a very long time to get there. I actually felt better about the book once I read the reading guide and was "illuminated" about some things that I did not catch or did not understand while reading the book. I don't think that it will make a very good discussion as I'm not sure that many in our group will have read the entire book.

  "Everything is illuminated" by arabrab (see profile) 04/19/12

It was difficult to anchor myself in time to the story. Was I in the far past, recent past during the holocaust, or inexplicably I found myself in the present. Alex's (Sasha) grasp of English magically improved dramatically in his letters. And when did Jonathan (now the hero) get back to America? The most moving part of this story was the meeting with Augustine (who was not Augustine). Her memories were lucid and powerful, and of course, the consequences to grandfather Alex was devastating. The ending was just nonsense and I skipped through most of the non-writing to be able to say I finished the book. Foer also couldn't decide whether he was writing comedy, myth, pathos, or history.

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