svnh's Reviews > Everything Is Illuminated

Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
157319
's review
Mar 10, 2015

it was amazing
bookshelves: the-softest-places, 2015, 2014, 2013
Read in March, 2005

flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Everything Is Illuminated.
Sign In »

Quotes svnh Liked

Jonathan Safran Foer
“If there is no love in the world, we will make a new world, and we will give it walls, and we will furnish it with soft, red interiors, from the inside out, and give it a knocker that resonates like a diamond falling to a jeweller's felt so that we should never hear it. Love me, because love doesn't exist, and I have tried everything that does.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer
“The disgraced Usurer Yankel D took the baby girl home that evening... He made a bed of crumpled newspaper in a deep baking pan and gently tucked it in the oven, so that she wouldn't be disturbed by the noise of the small falls outside... When he pulled her out to feed her or just hold her, her body was tattooed with the newsprint... Sometimes he would rock her to sleep in his arms, and read her left to right, and know everything he needed to know about the world. If it wasn't written on her, it wasn't important to him.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer
“I don't think that there are any limits to how excellent we could make life seem.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer
“But more than that, no unloving words were ever spoken, and everything was held up as another small piece of proof that it can be this way, it doesn't have to be that way; if there is no love in the world, we will make a new world, and we will give it heavy walls, and we will furnish it with soft red interiors, from the inside out, and give it a knocker that resonates like a diamond falling to a jeweler's felt so that we should never hear it.

Love me, because love doesn't exist, and I have tried everything that does.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer
“It's so hard to express yourself.'
I understand this.'
I want to express myself.'
The same is true for me.'
I'm looking for my voice.'
It's in your mouth.'
I want to do something I'm not ashamed of.'
Something you are proud of, yes?'
Not even. I just don't want to be ashamed.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer
“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.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer
“Memory was supposed to fill the time, but it made time a hole to be filled. Each second was two hundred yards, to be walked, crawled. You couldn't see the next hour, it was so far in the distance. Tomorrow was over the horizon, and would take an entire day to reach.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer
“The only thing more painful than being an active forgetter is to be an inert rememberer.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer
“But he also knew that there is an inflationary aspect to love, and that should his mother, or Rose, or any of those who loved him find out about each other, they would not be able to help but feel of lesser value. He knew that I love you also means, I love you more than anyone loves you, or has loved you, or will live you, and also, I love you in a way that no one loves you, or has loved you, or will love you,and also, I love you in a way that I love no one else, and never have loved anyone else, and never will love anyone else. He knew that it is, by love's definition, impossible to love two people.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer
“(What are your ghosts like?)
(They are on the insides of the lids of my eyes.)
(This is also where my ghosts reside.)
(You have ghosts?)
(Of course I have ghosts.)
(But you are a child.)
(I am not a child.)
(But you have not known love.)
(These are my ghosts, the spaces amid love.)”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated
tags: love

Jonathan Safran Foer
“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.
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer
SADNESS OF THE INTELLECT: Sadness of being misunderstood [sic]; Humor sadness; Sadness of love wit[hou]t release; Sadne[ss of be]ing smart; Sadness of not knowing enough words to [express what you mean]; Sadness of having options; Sadness of wanting sadness; Sadness of confusion; Sadness of domes[tic]ated birds, Sadness of fini[shi]ng a book; Sadness of remembering; Sadness of forgetting; Anxiety sadness...”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer
“It's true, I am afraid of dying. I am afraid of the world moving forward without me, of my absence going unnoticed, or worse, being some natural force propelling life on. Is it selfish? Am I such a bad person for dreaming of a world that ends when I do? I don't mean the world ending with respect to me, but every set of eyes closing with mine.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer
“She was a genius of sadness, immersing herself in it, separating its numerous strands, appreciating its subtle nuances. She was a prism through which sadness could be divided into its infinite spectrum.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer
“He removed several pages of death certificates, which were picked up by another breeze and sent into the trees. Some would fall with the leaves that September. Some would fall with the trees generations later.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer
“The horse at the bottom of the river, shrouded by the sunken night sky, closed its heavy eyes. The prehistoric ant in Yankel's ring, which had lain motionless in the honey-colored amber since long before Noah hammered the first plank, hid its head between its many legs, in shame.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer
“She has become an expert at confusing what is with what was with what should be with what could be.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer
“I saw Herschel and he saw me and we stood next to each other because that is what friends do in the presence of evil or love.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer
“Try to live so that you can always tell the truth.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer
“From space, astronauts can see people making love as a tiny speck of light. Not light, exactly, but a glow that could be mistaken for light--a coital radiance that takes generations to pour like honey through the darkness to the astronaut's eyes.

In about one and a half centuries--after the lovers who made the glow will have long been laid permanently on their backs--metropolises will be seen from space. They will glow all year. Smaller cities will also be seen, but with great difficulty. Shtetls will be virtually impossible to spot. Individual couples, invisible.

The glow is born from the sum of thousands of loves: newlyweds and teenagers who spark like lighters out of butane, pairs of men who burn fast and bright, pairs of women who illuminate for hours with soft multiple glows, orgies like rock and flint toys sold at festivals, couples trying unsuccessfully to have children who burn their frustrated image on the continent like the bloom a bright light leaves on the eye after you turn away from it.

Some nights, some places are a little brighter. It's difficult to stare at New York City on Valentine's Day, or Dublin on St. Patrick's. The old walled city of Jerusalem lights up like a candle on each of Chanukah's eight nights...We're here, the glow...will say in one and a half centuries. We're here, and we're alive.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated
tags: sex

Jonathan Safran Foer
“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.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated
tags: love

Jonathan Safran Foer
“I used to think that humor was the only way to appreciate how wonderful and terrible the world is, to celebrate how big life is. But now I think the opposite. Humor is a way of shrinking from that wonderful and terrible world.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer
“...accepting the compromise of the way we have been, the way we are, and the way we will likely be...may we live together in unwavering love and good health, amen.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer
“She was with me. She did all of those things and so many more, things I would never tell anyone, and she never even loved me. Now that’s love.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer
“It was inevitable: Yankel fell in love with his never-wife. He would wake from sleep to miss the weight that never depressed the bed next to him, remember in earnest the weight of gestures she never made, long for the un-weight of her un-arm slung over his too-real chest, making his widower's rememberences that much more convincing and his pain that much more real.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer
“We're here, the glow of 1804 will say in one and a half centuries. We're here, and we're alive.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer
“They exchanged notes, like children. My grandfather made his out of newspaper clippings and dropped them in her woven baskets, into which he knew only she would dare stick a hand. Meet me under the wooden bridge and I will show you things you have never, ever seen. The "M" was taken from the army that would take his mother’s life: GERMAN FRONT ADVANCES ON SOVIET BORDER; the "eet" from their approaching warships: NAZI FLEET DEFEATS FRENCH AT LESACS; the "me" from the peninsula they were blue-eyeing: GERMANS SURROUND CRIMEA; the "und" from too little, too late: AMERICAN WAR FUNDS REACH ENGLAND; the "er" from the dog of dogs: HITLER RENDERS NONAGGRESSION PACT INOPERATIVE…and so on, and so on, each note a collage of love that could never be, and a war that could”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

Jonathan Safran Foer
“Why couldn't she have slid it under the door? he wondered. Why couldn't she have folded it? It looked just like any other note she would leave him, like, Could you try to fix the broken knocker? or I'll be back soon, don't worry. It was so strange to him that such a different kind of note - I had to do it for myself - could look exactly the same: trivial, mundane, nothing. He could have hated her for leaving it there in plain sight, and he could have hated her for the plainness of it, a message without adornment, without any small clue to indicate that yes, this is important, yes, this is the most painful note I've ever written, yes, I would sooner die than have to write this again. Where were the dried teardrops? Where was the tremor in the script?”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated


Reading Progress

08/23/2013 page 276
100.0%
02/22/2015 page 276
100.0% "Annual re-read: in progress. The beginning of the world often comes... again."

No comments have been added yet.