everything is illuminated


I finished this book a couple minutes ago & I am still reeling from the shifts of intensity Foer manages to incorporate into his writing. Needless to say, this is a great read. I didn't really know much about this book going into it, and because of that, I think I was a bit confused at times. Well, that & the fact I started reading the book about three months ago, got busy and had to put it down, forgot about it, read other books, found it while moving & decided to pick it back up again. Note to readers: don't do this. Overall, despite my complete lack of respect for continuity of characterization, I loved the narrator, Sasha. He offers humor, honesty, and complete & utter heartbreak in the span of the novel's pages. I'm serious. There's not many books which make me laugh AND cry...but this has definitely been one of them.

If you choose to read this book (and you should), there are a few things you need to know. This is not your average plot. Jonathan is writing the books & Sasha is translating & Sasha & Jonathan are traveling together & getting translations skewed & Sasha is writing to Jonathan in his stilted English...so good & witty. I appreciated this as a writer myself. Epistolary novels are rare, so I loved the added transactions between Jonathan & Sasha, albeit a bit one sided. If you aren't paying attention however, this style easily brings on some confusion because of the narrative shifts. You get use to this-I promise. Soon the nuances of language endears you to the characters.

Also, this book is not rated PG. If you are in any way caught blushing or sweating a little because of scenes that become slightly risque, then there will be a few pages you will need to flip over, but don't be surprised...and keep reading. Because, the jewel of this book is in the end. My literary mind was seriously going on sensory overload because of everything happening....syntactical changes dealing with emotional urgency, historical fiction dealing with the atrocities of the Holocaust, and plot twists that could have anyone reeling.

I can't really say much about the novel itself, because I don't want to give anything away. However. Foer does an incredible job pointing out that some ghosts hide beneath our eyelids & just won't let us go. It's the raw poignancy of the story behind this idea which sticks with you. Definitely, definitely pick up this book. Or at least add it to your list.

Favorite quote:

Try to live so that you can always tell the truth...

Posted on June 7, 2009 and filed under elora reads.