Jonathan, a young Jewish-American writer, travels to Ukraine to seek out the woman who may have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. He hires Alex, a young Ukrainian tour guide who takes him on a hilarious road trip in search of the woman’s village. Along the way, they confront haunting memories as Jonathan and Alex’s histories become entwined.
Everything Is Illuminated Reviews
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Stage and Cinema - Somewhat Recommended
"...Sadly, not everything is illuminated in British playwright Simon Block’s fascinating but problematic adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s best-selling novel about a young American writer who hires a Ukrainian translator to take him to the town where a woman named Augustine saved his grandfather’s life in WWII. Or so Jonathan thinks. All he has to go on is a photo. The real-life Foer came up empty-handed on his real-life trip and fictionalized what may have happened in the real-life shtetl of Trachimbrod since its beginnings in 1791 up to its destruction by Nazis in 1942. Since Foer’s dad and granddad came from this exclusively Jewish town, Foer was obsessed and ended up writing a narrative — published in 2002 — that involves time shifts, different narrative voices, and a melding of fantasy and reality, dovetailing in topics including the Holocaust, sex, guilt, memory, and cultural identity."
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