Picks and Pans Review: Everything Is Illuminated
By Jonathan Safran Foer
In this triumphant first novel disguised as memoir, a young writer named Jonathan Safran Foer searches for the Ukrainian village from which his grandfather escaped during the Holocaust. Foer's sidekick is a hilariously maladroit translator, Alex, who tells the hero, "I anticipate with bumps on my skin your consequent letter."
Foer, weaving an ancestral identity of fact and fiction, is a major talent at 25. If his reach—the themes include the meaning of love, the impermanence of memory and the role of myth—at times exceeds his grasp, this is an enchanting and formidable showcase. (Houghton Mifflin, $24)
Bottom Line: Foer stars
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