Everything Is Illuminated

Everything Is Illuminated

by By:  Jonathan Safran Foer

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“Imagine a novel as verbally cunning as A Clockwork Orange, as harrowing as The Painted Bird, as exuberant and twee as Candide, and you have Everything Is Illuminated . . . Read it, and you'll feel altered, chastened — seared in the fire of something new.” — Washington Post 

 

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. As his search moves back in time, the fantastical history moves forward, until reality collides with fiction in a heart-stopping scene of extraordinary power. 

 

“A rambunctious tour de force of inventive and intelligent storytelling . . . Foer can place his reader’s hand on the heart of human experience, the transcendent beauty of human connections. Read, you can feel the life beating.” — Philadelphia Inquirer

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  • Format: eBook

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780547523781

  • ISBN-10: 0547523785

  • Pages: 288

  • Price: $9.99

  • Publication Date: 09/03/2013

  • Carton Quantity: 10

  • Age(s): 14,15,16

  • Grade(s): 9-12

  • Reading Level:

    • Lexile Reading Level 950L

Jonathan Safran Foer
Author

Jonathan Safran Foer

JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER is the author of the novels Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and a work of nonfiction, Eating Animals. His books have won numerous awards and have been translated into 36 languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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  • reviews

    “Not since Anthony Burgess’s novel A Clockwork Orange has the English language been simultaneously mauled and energized with such brilliance and such brio.” — Francine Prose, New York Times Book Review, Notable Books of 2002 

     

    “Read it, and you’ll feel altered, chastened—seared in the fire of something new.” — Washington Post  

     

    “Comedy and pathos are braided together with extraordinary skill in a haunting debut . . . riveting intensity and originality.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review 

     

    “A certified wunderkind at twenty-five . . . a funny, moving . . . deeply felt novel about the dangers of confronting the past and the redemption that comes with laughing at it, even when that seems all but impossible.” — Time 

     

    “It's wonderful to think that the very young Jonathan Safran Foer . . . can be writing so well and with such lofty aspriation. It will be wonderful if he writes many more books.” — Adam Begley, New York Observer 

     

    “A book that illuminates so much with such odd and original beauty.” — Daniel Mendelsohn, New York Magazine 

     

    “[A] dazzling literary high-wire act . . . brilliant . . . The payoff is extraordinary: a fearless, acrobatic, ultimately haunting effort.” — Janet Maslin, New York Times 

     

    “[An] enormously impressive first novel . . . Everything is illuminated, indeed, by this talented artist’s furious, glorious starburst of prose.” — Dan Cryer, Newsday 

     

    “Maybe two or three times in a lifetime, a book transcends its genre to become experience. Everything Is Illuminated is an event of this order.” — Dorothea Strauss, Baltimore Sun 

     

    “A zestfully imagined novel of wonders both magical and mundane . . . He will win your admiration, and he will break your heart.” — Joyce Carol Oates 

     

    “Extraordinarily gifted . . . this young man also happens to possess something approaching wisdom. Don’t just check him out. Read him.” — Russell Banks 

     

    “It is one of the best novels I’ve ever been fortunate enough to hold in my hands.” — Dale Peck 

     

    “One of the most impressive first novels in a long time . . . this book is, as its name implies, brilliant.” — Adrienne Miller, Esquire 

     

    “Madcap virtuosity . . . takes big risks but reaps big rewards, affirming the human spirit in such profoundly triumphant fashion . . .” — Don McCleese, MSNBC.com 

     

    “J. S. Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated is a novel intricate in structure, fantastical in its story, and irreverent in a hundred different ways.” — Nathan Englander 

     

    “A writer of magnificent energy and obvious talent.” — Newark Star-Ledger 

     

    Everything Is Illuminated is often brilliant.” — San Francisco Chronicle 

     

    “[A] stunning debut . . . So put off your plans to write the next Great American Novel—Foer’s beaten you to it.” — Maxim 

     

    “Without a doubt, Jonathan Safran Foer’s first novel, Everything Is Illuminated, establishes him as one of the best young novelists around . . . A generosity of vision that is one of the true marks of a great writer.” — Time Out New York 

     

    “Have you ever found, after finishing a completely awesome book, that you have so many competing impulses about what to do next that you become frozen by excitement? That is how I feel right now. One thing I want to do . . . is tell every single one of my friends that I have just finished reading Everything Is Illuminated, an amazingly funny, adventuruous and powerful novel . . . I was dumbstruck with amazement and joy.” — Vancouver Sun 

     

    “He has given us a deeply resonant work that could only be the first great American Jewish novel of the twenty-first century.” — Jewish Daily Forward 

     

    “Foer has written a glittering first novel . . . with great humor, sympathy, charm and daring. Every page is illuminated.” — Jeffrey Eugenides 

     

    Everything is Illuminated is not only an extraordinary addition to novels about the Holocaust, but also the most impressive first novel I've read in years.” — Sanford Pinsker, Hadassah Magazine 

     

    “A rambunctious tour de force of inventive and intelligent storytelling . . . Foer can place his reader’s hand on the heart of human experience, the transcendent beauty of human connections. Read, you can feel the life beating.” — Philadelphia Inquirer 

     

    “Inventive, boisterous.” — Memphis Commercial Appeal

  • excerpts

    1 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 I disseminate so much currency around her. She licks my chops for it. I have a miniature brother who dubs me Alli. I do not dig this name very much, but I dig him very much, so OK, I permit him to dub me Alli. As for his name, it is Little Igor, but Father dubs him Clumsy One, because he is always promenading into things. It was only four days previous that he made his eye blue from a mismanagement with a brick wall. If you’re wondering what my bitch’s name is, it is Sammy Davis, Junior, Junior. She has this name because Sammy Davis, Junior was Grandfather’s beloved singer, and the bitch is his, not mine, because I am not the one who thinks he is blind. 

     

    As for me, I was sired in 1977, the same year as the hero of this story. In truth, my life has been very ordinary. As I mentioned before, I do many good things with myself and others, but they are ordinary things. I dig American movies. I dig Negroes, particularly Michael Jackson. I dig to disseminate very much currency at famous nightclubs in Odessa. Lamborghini Countaches are excellent, and so are cappuccinos. Many girls want to be carnal with me in many good arrangements, notwithstanding the Inebriated Kangaroo, the Gorky Tickle, and the Unyielding Zookeeper. If you want to know why so many girls want to be with me, it is because I am a very premium person to be with. I am homely, and also severely funny, and these are winning things. But nonetheless, I know many people who dig rapid cars and famous discotheques. There are so many who perform the Sputnik Bosom Dalliance—which is always terminated with a slimy underface—that I cannot tally them on all of my hands. There are even many people named Alex. (Three in my house alone!) That is why I was so effervescent to go to Lutsk and translate for Jonathan Safran Foer. It would be unordinary. 

     

    I had performed recklessly well in my second year of English at university. This was a very majestic thing I did because my instructor was having shit between his brains. Mother was so proud of me, she said, “Alexi-stop-spleening-me! You have made me so proud of you.” I inquired her to purchase me leather pants, but she said no. “Shorts?” “No.” Father was also so proud. He said, “Shapka,” and I said, “Do not dub me that,” and he said, “Alex, you have made Mother so proud.” 

     

    Mother is a humble woman. Very, very humble. She toils at a small café one hour distance from our home. She presents food and drink to customers there, and says to me, “I mount the autobus for an hour to work all day doing things I hate. You want to know why? It is for you, Alexi-stop-spleening-me! One day you will do things for me that you hate. That is what it means to be a family.” What she does not clutch is that I already do things for her that I hate. I listen to her when she talks to me. I resist complaining about my pygmy allowance. And did I mention that I do not spleen her nearly so much as I desire to? But I do not do these things because we are a family. I do them because they are common decencies. That is an idiom that the hero taught me. I do them because I am not a big fucking asshole. That is another idiom that the hero taught me. 

     

    Father toils for a travel agency, denominated Heritage Touring. It is for Jewish people, like the hero, who have cravings to leave that ennobled country America and visit humble towns in Poland and Ukraine. Father’s agency scores a translator, guide, and driver for the Jews, who try to unearth places where their families once existed. OK, I had never met a Jewish person until the voyage. But this was their fault, not mine, as I had always been willing, and one might even write lukewarm, to meet one. I will be truthful again and mention that before the voyagge I had the opinion that Jewish people were having shit between their brains. This is because all I knew of Jewish people was that they paid Father veryyyyy much currency in order to make vacations from America to Ukraine. But then I met Jonathan Safran Foer, and I will tell you, he is not having shit between his brains. He is an ingenious Jew. 

     

    So as for the Clumsy One, who I never ever dub the Clumsy One but always Little Igor, he is a first-rate boy. It is now evident to me that he will become a very potent and generative man, and that his brain will have many muscles. We do not speak in volumes, because he is such a silent person, but I am certain that we are friends, and I do not think I would be lying if I wrote that we are paramount friends. I have tutored Little Igor to be a man of this world. For an example, I exhibited him a smutty magazine three days yore, so that he should be appraised of the many positions in which I am carnal. “This is the sixty-nine,” I told him, presenting the magazine in front of him. I put my fingers—two of them—on the action, so that he would not overlook it. “Why is it dubbed sixty-nine?” he asked, because he is a person hot on fire with curiosity. “It was invented in 1969. My friend Gregory knows a friend of the nephew of the inventor.” “What did people do before 1969?” “Merely blowjobs and masticating box, but never in chorus.” He will be made a VIP if I have a thing to do with it. 

     

    This is where the story begins. 

     

    But first I am burdened to recite my good appearance. I am unequivocally tall. I do not know any women who are taller than me. The women I know who are taller than me are lesbians, for whom 1969 was a very momentous year. I have handsome hairs, which are split in the middle. This is because Mother used to split them on the side when I was a boy, and to spleen her I split them in the middle. “Alexi-stop-spleening-me!,” she said, “you appear mentally unbalanced with your hairs split like that.” She did not intend it, I know. Very often Mother utters things that I know she does not intend. I have an aristocratic smile and like to punch people. My stomach is very strong, although it presently lacks muscles. Father is a fat man, and Mother is also. This does not disquiet me, because my stomach is very strong, even if it appears very fat. I will describe my eyes and then begin the story. My eyes are blue and resplendent. Now I will begin the story. 

     

    Father obtained a telephone call from the American office of Heritage Touring. They required a driver, guide, and translator for a young man who would be in Lutsk at the dawn of the month of July. This was a troublesome supplication, because at the dawn of July, Ukraine was to celebrate the first birthday of its ultramodern constitution, which makes us feel very nationalistic, and so many people would be on vacation in foreign places. It...

Available Resources

Related Categories

  • Format: eBook

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780547523781

  • ISBN-10: 0547523785

  • Pages: 288

  • Price: $9.99

  • Publication Date: 09/03/2013

  • Carton Quantity: 10

  • Age(s): 14,15,16

  • Grade(s): 9-12

  • Reading Level:

    • Lexile Reading Level 950L

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