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Everything is Illuminated

23 Aug

Be warned. Alex has a thesaurus, and he’s not afraid to use it.

The primary voice of narration in this amazing novel is 20 year old Alexander Perchov, whose limited English is amplified by a thesaurus he received from his friend. Hence the opening of the book…

“My legal name is Alexander Perchov. But all of my friends dub me Alex, because it is a more flaccid-to-utter version of my legal name. Mother dubs me Alexi-stop-spleening-me!,because I am always spleening her.”

The book is told in the form of:
a) Alexanders story about taking an American Jew to look for the village his father came from;
b) The story the American wrote about the history of the village;
c) A one sided correspondence between Alex and the American, in the form of Alex’s letters.

While the American is the better writer from a technical perspective, Alexanders writings exhibit more truth, and emotion, especially since you have to read between the lines.

In case this sounds too serious he is also accompanied by his grandfather, who thinks he is blind, but isn’t, and a ‘seeing eye bitch’ named Sammy Davis Junior Junior.
“The bitch is his, not mine, because I am not the one who thinks he is blind”

On the opening page you want to laugh until you cry, and by the closing page you just want to cry. And somewhere in the middle you move from one to the other without realising it, or losing the spirit of the first few pages.

Well worth the read, if you can handle the fractured English.

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Posted by on August 23, 2010 in books

 

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