A very sad novel that may make you laugh a lot - Everything Is Illuminated, by Jonathan Safran Foer

Another first novel written in a funny dialect! But it is much more than that. Jonathan Safran Foer's first novel concerns a journey through the Ukraine by a young man named Jonathan Safran Foer. He is trying to find the Ukrainian woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis. The main narrator of the story is Alex, a Ukrainian teenager. Also on the trip are Alex's grandfather Alex and a flatulent dog named Sammy Davis Jr. Jr.
Alex's prose style, in his letters to Jonathan after the trip, which carry the main weight of the story, is quite controversial amongst readers and reviewers, most finding it a bit too much. I was annoyed by it at first but it began to grow on me.
Interspersed with the main story of the trip are excerpts from the magical realist novel that Jonathan is writing, which is based on old historic legends about the now non-existent village where his grandfather lived, and Alex's commentary on the fragments of the novel. There are a lot of secrets and mysteries in the stories, and Alex's grandfather Alex seems to hold the key to them. But he is unable to remember, let alone talk about, what he knows.
This really is an unmissable novel, and one that you may want to re-read several times.

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