This summer while on a stuffy night train in the Swiss alps I began reading Jonathan Safran Foer‘s Everything Is Illuminated, a 2002 novel that got book reviewers to pie in their pants out of excitement. It is not difficult understanding why. I laughed out loud as I lay cramped against the train roof. It certainly helped to forget about the French older man who, at Zürich Haubtbahnhof had gone from what seemed to be a nice person to a raging racist as soon as h heard a ambulance siren. A few days later I forgot the novel in a city in northern Italy. Now I’ve gotten a new copy and after finalizing a series of reports on the Swedish fruit market I found some time to once again dive into this story that has a language that makes me think of the Swedish word acrobat Jonas Hassen Khemiri. I’ll give you an example from page four:
I have an aristocratic smile and like to punch people. My stomach is very strong, although it presently lacks muscles. Father is a fat man, and Mother is also. This does not disquiet me, because my stomach is very strong, even if it appears very fat. I will describe my eyes and then begin the story. My eyes are blue and resplendent. Now I will begin the story.