Wednesday, March 24, 2010
A Book for the Reading Pile: Everything is Illuminated
Upon urgings from Supermodel and that our friendship would be rendered moot if I did not take the time to read this book, I took a Sunday to devote to Jonathan and Alex, two young men on the brink of, well, everything. The butchered prose that Alex, a Ukrainian translator, uses is hilarious and oftentimes even BETTER at emoting and describing than proper English grammar would allow. I found myself waiting for the chapters that were narrated by Alex and even more so for the letters he penned to Jonathan as he reads Jonathan's first draft of his book.
I would finish passages and seriously thank my lucky stars that I existed long enough to read Foer's description of sex viewed from outer space or the view of a small grandchild from underneath his grandmother's protective skirt. It is staggeringly beautiful as it is honest and raw. The human need to love, be close, rage, and protect...that is the thread, or umbilical cord rather, that connects progeny to progenitor in this book. We are taken far back to a shetl celebration in the 1700s and then fast forwarded to the 21st century where vegetarianism is being defended in a matter of pages. And, you know, it really works.
If you read just one book this year, let it be this one, Everything Is Illuminated: A Novel.