Monday, September 13, 2010

Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer ***

I've been lax. Very lax. It's not that I haven't been reading, heavens no! It's that I haven't been blogging. Now why that is is a multi-faceted, complex, & difficult to describe reason. But I'll take a whack at putting that reason into words: I've been busy. And that will just have to do as far as excuses go.

Now, on to the book. I had seen this movie a couple years ago only because it had Eugene Hutz in it, & I love Gogol Bordello. Not only did Eugene give a great performance, but so did Elijah Wood & Boris Leskin. I highly recommend the movie.

The book was another story (no pun intended). It started out in a hilarious manner as a letter written by Alex, a young Ukrainian man, to Jonathan Safran Foer. You see, JSF is a character in his own book. And while I warmed up to his character in the movie, I grew to dislike JSF in the book. I think this is to be expected since we see Alex improve his English but also grow & change during the course of telling the story of why JSF came to the Ukraine. As Alex learns, he learns to dislike JSF also.

Why is JSF there? To find the woman, Augustine, who saved his grandfather from a Nazi death squad. All he has is an old picture to go by, & the name of the town he's looking for. But how can you find a Jewish town 50 years after the Holocaust?

The book has a lot of very confusing story lines that I just frankly didn't understand. I don't know why the story of Brod was part of this book, it didn't seem to advance the plot at all. And I've got to say I've never been a big fan of stream of consciousness, so when I ran into a few pages of it I had to just put on a determined grin & slog through it.

Overall this is one of those rare books that was, in my opinion, much better as a movie. It made more sense & it had a much bigger impact. I suggest renting the movie & enjoying Eugene & the fellas do a fine job of making pain, beauty, & collecting things illuminated.

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