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Everything is Illuminated

I finished this book and went to read more about Trachimbrod (actually Trochimbrod) the location in the story where an entire town of Jews is destroyed and the town effectively vanishes from the earth. While the book is non-fiction and has a lot of fun and less-fun literary affectations, it’s based on a real place. When I went to read more, I learned that the movie made of the book was 1) based on a screenplay written by a guy I went to college with, and 2) featured a soundtrack by Gogol Bordello who was also featured in a movie I just finished watching: Wristcutters.

None of this has much to do with the book which I fell into and got stuck in. The recurring theme of memory and how for Jews their memories are like a sixth sense, felt as well as simply experienced. This particular story is two main stories. The protagonist, known alternately as “The Hero” and Jonathan Safran Foer, goes back to figure out what happened to the town where his grandfather lived. There is also the parallel story of the history of this same town, told in a rather fantastical way. I usually dislike books with two concurrent stories because I tent to like one more and flip ahead in the slower story to get back to the interesting one, but in this book both stories are equally captivating.