For those who haven't heard, Pete has been encouraging a number of us to read this book and several of us have taken him up on the suggestion.
I think the intention is to have a discussion about the book, so I'm going to only give a brief synopsis and my very general comments about it, and I hope that others who have read it will sharpen the focus of the discussion.
Everything is Illuminated is the story of a young man's (named Jonathan Safran Foer) trip to a small town the Ukraine in search of the people who helped save his grandfather from the Nazis, told from several perspectives: First, from the perspective of his impromptu tour guide and peer, Alex, relating the narrative as it unfolds; second, the letters from Alex to Jonathon, discussing the segments of the story that each has sent to the other; and finally, as an allegorical story taking place from 1791 - 1943 in the village Jonathon was seeking.
It's a first novel, and it's quite clever. The voices are distinctive and well-realized, and there are many pieces of the book that are delightful and many that are thoughtful. It's absolutely worth reading.
And Foer may have overreached a little bit. It's hard to take a comic novel and turn it into a tragedy. He almost succeeds, almost. But not quite. But I do not begrudge him the effort. It's still a better written book than many. And I think that Foer is a writer to watch. (I'm interested now to read his collection of writings inspired by the work of Joseph Cornell, but I'm also a big lover of Cornell. Huge fan of Cornell.)
I have at home a couple of scrabbled notes on moments that I loved and that really worked for me in the book, and I'll bring them into the discussion later, if appropriate.
Who else has read this one?
~ ~ ~ All meetings end in separation All acquisition ends in dispersion All life ends in death - The Buddha