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Bright lights.

May 24, 2011

Everything is Illuminated.

By Jonathan Safran Foer. A brand new reading experience for me. I’ve managed to read only a hundred pages this week. Only a hundred pages in 7 days.

I’ve reread a lot of things. Entire chapters have befuddled my mind. I can’t tell yet if the fairy tale that is being constructed by one of the narrators (as of now I think there are two) is going to lead into the second story just yet. But I’ve still almost 200 pages to find out.

And, though it is a challenging read (and I mean that wholeheartedly – I’ve not seen the English language treated in this manner since reading Burgess’ Clockwork Orange), it is a thoroughly enjoyable read. The characters are likeable. Beyond likeable. And their language, once you get into the swing of it, is endearing.

Here is a hint of one of the writing styles (this author must be a somehow genius, or something like that):

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 since 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 leave son 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. Trachimday is the only time all year when the tiny village of Trachimbrod can be seen from space, when enough copulative voltage is generated to sex the Polish-Ukrainian skies electric. We’re here, the glow of 1804 will say in one and a half centuries. We’re here, and we’re alive.

I’ve read this passage several times. Imagined it. And moved on several times more.

This author must be a genius, or something like it.

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