Everything Is Illuminated - description
Everything Is Illuminated is the first novel by the American writer Jonathan Safran Foer, published in 2002. It was adapted into a film by the same name starring Elijah Wood in 2005.
A young American Jew, named Jonathan Safran Foer, journeys to Ukraine in search of Augustine, the woman who saved his grandfather's life during the Nazi liquidation of Trachimbrod, his family shtetl. Armed with many copies of an old photograph of Augustine and his grandfather, maps, and cigarettes, Jonathan begins his adventure with Ukrainian native and soon-to-be good friend, Alexander "Alex" Perchov, who is Foer's age and very fond of American pop culture, albeit culture that is already out of date in the United States. Alex has studied English at his university and is "premium" in his knowledge of the language, therefore he becomes the translator. Alex's "blind" grandfather and his "deranged seeing-eye bitch," Sammy Davis, Jr., Jr., accompany them on their journey. These three parts tie together in the end of the story. Throughout the book, the meaning of love is deeply examined.
The writing and structure received critical acclaim for the manner in which it switches between two story arcs: (1) fragments of Foer-the-character's novel-in-progress, where he tells in highly literary English a quasi-magical story about the citizens of Trachimbrod; and (2) a straightforward narrative of searching for Trachimbrod (an invented name for the real village Trochenbrod), as told by Alex in broken English. They are tied together by letters sent from Alex to Foer and attached to Alex's version. Alex's narrative is notable for its broken English, which sounds as if he learned English from a thesaurus without ever hearing it spoken. Throughout his narrative, he makes frequent use of improper synonyms, such as using the word rigid to mean "difficult" or "hard".