Review: Everything Is Illuminated

Posted on March 20, 2012


Last month in my View from 38,000 feet post I wrote about Jonathon Safran-Foer’s novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. It was fantastic! One of my followers, Bibliopirate recommended another novel by Safran-Foer called Everything is Illuminated.

First off, thank you Bibliopirate. Thank you very much. I just thought Increbidly Loud was an exceptional piece of writing. Then I read Everything is Illuminated.

My first impression was that this was comedic writing. I enjoyed it very much. In fact, I had the voice of Sasha in my head most of the time as I was reading it. Because, “as you know, I am a very premium guy! I would not provide you with proxy for truth.”

But as the novel progress I could see that there was going to be some connection. I’m not going to spoil that here, but the “reveal” was much deeper, more personal and way more intense than I had anticipated.

Because I read on the Kindle app in my tablet I don’t know about pages but I can say that the last 20% of the book is some of the most gripping, emotional words I have ever read. And I was torn…part of me didn’t want to read any more. Much like Sasha didn’t want to write about it. Much like Sasha’s grandfather refused to talk about and almost seemed to deny that it happened. But also, I didn’t want to know that Man could be so horrible. Yet, at the same time I couldn’t stop reading.

I called it the “reveal” in the previous paragrapgh but Mr. Safran-Foer’s use of words is much more succinct and accurate than mine. It truly is an illumination. Not just about the characters and their relationship to each other, but an illumination on mankind.

Thank you again Bibliopirate. And thank you, Jonathan Safran-Foer.