Everything Is Illuminated

Everything Is Illuminated (the novel, not as much the movie), by Jonathan Safran Foer, is an intricate tale woven together by generations of voices, deceit, and mystery. The novel is written in a very unique style, which either leads one to hate it or love it. I love it. The book also contains some of the most beautiful blocks of quotations that I love reading over and over again. All the accompanied images are still images from the movie.

“This is love, she thought, isn’t it? When you notice someone’s absence and hate that absence more than anything? More, even, than you love his presence?”

“Do you think I’m wonderful? she asked him one day as they leaned against the trunk of a petrified maple. No, he said. Why? Because so many girls are wonderful. I imagine hundreds of men have called their loves wonderful today, and it’s only noon. You couldn’t be something that hundreds of others are.”

“He awoke each morning with the desire to do right, to be a good and meaningful person, to be, as simple as it sounded and as impossible as it actually was, happy. And during the course of each day his heart would descend from his chest into his stomach. By early afternoon he was overcome by the feeling that nothing was right, or nothing was right for him, and by the desire to be alone. By evening he was fulfilled: alone in the magnitude of his grief, alone in his aimless guilt, alone even in his loneliness. I am not sad, he would repeat to himself over and over, I am not sad. As if he might one day convince himself. Or fool himself. Or convince others–the only thing worse than being sad is for others to know that you are sad. I am not sad. I am not sad. Because his life had unlimited potential for happiness, insofar as it was an empty white room. He would fall asleep with his heart at the foot of his bed, like some domesticated animal that was no part of him at all. And each morning he would wake with it again in the cupboard of his rib cage, having become a little heavier, a little weaker, but still pumping. And by the midafternoon he was again overcome with the desire to be somewhere else, someone else, someone else somewhere else. I am not sad.

“You are the only one who has understood even a whisper of me, and I will tell you that I am the only person who has understood even a whisper of you.”

“Love itself became the object of her love. She loved herself in love, she loved loving love, as love loves loving, and was able, in that way, to reconcile herself with a world that fell so short of what she would have hoped for.”

“…This is a kiss. It is what happens when lips are puckered and pressed against something, sometimes other lips, sometimes a cheek, sometimes something else. It depends…This is my heart. You are touching it with your left hand, not because you are left-handed, although you might be, but because I am holding it against my heart. What you are feeling is the beating of my heart. It is what keeps me alive.”

And one for fun:

“This is the sixty-nine,” I told him, presenting the magazine in front of him. I put my fingers — two of them — on the action, so that he would not overlook it. “Why is it dubbed sixty-nine?” he asked, because he is a person hot on fire with curiosity. “It was invented in 1969. My friend Gregory knows a friend of the nephew of the inventor.” “What did people do before 1969?” “Merely blowjobs and masticating box, but never in chorus.”


3 thoughts on “Everything Is Illuminated

  1. Ah, first the pixar flick and now this??? This book is absolutely one of my favorite books. The writing changed my life. I also am one of the few who loved the movie, too. But, of course, nothing can compair to the complexities within the book itself. I quite enjoy Foer’s writing and how he arranges his writings in his books. Have you ever see one of his first books, and somewhat rare(because it costs a bit more to make it), Tree of Codes? That is a masterpiece. The structure of his books makes my brain happy.

    But back to E.I.L.: I love the movie because there is an honesty there also. The visuals are stunning and whole. The characters have a lot of depth to them and there is even humour when you wouldn’t expect to find it. The charming dog, Sammy David Jr. Jr. Hehe. There is so much there… I don’t really understand why a lot of people (even Foer himself) aren’t, at least, a little proud of the movie?!

    I’ve seen Gorgol Bordello many times here and there. They also brought something really special to the movie. Eugene is like NO OTHER. That guy, is amazing. I think that Elijah did well for the part he was given and maybe a bit more. Foer’s characters (therein, himself) are very… a part from other people and from their own enrivonment. Elijah capture the spirit of the character pretty well, in that respect I thought.

    I still get pissed off, tough, when it comes to that shot with the Grandfather. I never really understood all the whys exactly about those cinimatic decisions. But, it was still captured well. Oh and the movie soundtrack (even the little bits of music): suberb.

    I am so glad to be reminded of how much love I have for this book and related ects. Thank you for that. = )

    I’ve had this quote on my the facebook for years now, and shall end with it here:
    “I have reflected many times upon our rigid search. It has shown me that everything is illuminated in the light of the past. It is always along the side of us, on the inside, looking out. Like you say, inside out. Jonathan, in this way, I will always be along the side of your life. And you will always be along the side of mine.” -Alex

  2. Thank you for the comments! And @kaie for adding that other quote. I was focusing on just quotes from the book, but that is definitely a great one from the movie!! I agree with you, as well, about the grandfather. It didn’t really seem necessary, but I guess going by the book’s grandfather story it would have made the movie twice as long. Who knows!

    Of course I always take suggestions for your favorite clips, books, or artworks 🙂

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