November, 2017: Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

Finally, my turn to host.

To My Most Premium Friends:
Heritage Touring schemes to make welcome a miniature banquet for friends of our megacorp. The banquet will present itself on Tuesday, the 7 of Novembier at 2120 W Schiller in Odessa. There will be premium entertainment, commotion and extended prizes.  Accommodation for vehicles may be rigid as the neighborhood is contemporary, but labels of designation are not demanded, so it is possible to lodge wherever you see a location appearing blank.
You are not oblongated to come but I perceive you will have premium amusement. Please retaliate if you are able to come into view.  I look ahead to jovial consultation with the total of you.

(Book #91) Because Jonathan is a vegetarian, all he was able to eat on his travels with Alex Perchov  was the potato that typically accompanies the meat.  My meal was all about potatoes. Chris summarized the meal as follows:  “Several of you will be pretty spleened when you find out what you missed: Teresa made a fabulous potato-focused dinner in honor of the “hero’s” vegetarian diet (and there was no meat served on the side that had to be slipped to Sammy Davis Jr. Jr. or any other canine in residence, including one really wacky but adorable  new guy whose name I can’t remember). After little potato tarts, beets and sweets, and carrots and broccoli with sour cream dips, we had a bounty of dishes: a golden beet torta that included the beet greens; a quiche with asparagus and cheese in a sweet potato crust; a wonderful salad with arugula, grape tomatoes, green beans, tiny potatoes, and a delicious vinaigrette (with capers?); and gnocchi with pecorino, pine nuts, and broccoli (or rabe?). It was hard to keep track of all the different vegetables involved here, but no one could decide which was the favorite dish. As usual, Teresa must have been cooking all weekend and all day Monday and Tuesday.”

For dessert I served a chocolate cake recipe that includes, you guessed it, mashed potatoes. Then to ruin all the fun, I handed out the quiz:

Everything is Illuminated QUIZ

1. The movie is structured as a book written by Alex Perchov.  Is this how the book is written?

  1. Yes, this is how the book is written.
  2. No, the book is written from two perspectives: Alex’ narration of Jonathan Safran Foer’s visit to the Ukraine and letters from Alex to Jonathan after the visit is over.
  3. No, the book is written from three perspectives: the two noted in answer B and a folkloric or magical realist tale Foer writes about his grandfather’s shtetl from its beginning to end.
  4. No, the book is written from four perspectives: the three noted in answer C and diary entries from Sammy Davis Jr., Jr.

2. In the movie, Jonathan tells Alex that he is a vegetarian and the waitress brings him one potato on a plate.  Does this happen in the book?

  1. Yes, he gets one potato and that’s his dinner.
  2. Yes, he gets one potato but it falls on the dirty floor.
  3. No, he is told that he can have two potatoes but they come with a piece of meat.  When it arrives he asks Alex to take the meat off his plate. He eats both of the potatoes.
  4. No, he is told that he can have two potatoes but they come with a piece of meat. When it arrives he asks Alex to take the meat off his plate and then Sammy Davis Jr., Jr. humps the table leg and  knocks one of the potatoes to the dirty floor.

3.  In the movie, the woman they find is Augustine’s sister Lista.  Is that true of the book?

  1. Yes, that is true, Lista was Augustine’s older sister.
  2. No, they find Augustine.
  3. Her name is Lista, but the only time we’ve heard that name before is the widow Lista who was one of Safran’s conquests.
  4. c might be the right answer and it may also be true that Lista is actually the “older sister” she describes as having been shot in “her place” killing the baby but allowing for her survival.

4. In the movie we are led to believe that Alex’ grandfather was a Jew, but having survived a mass shooting, he pulled himself out of the tangle of corpses, took off his coat with the star of David sewn on it, and pitched the coat into the trench with the bodies. Is this his back story in the book?

  1. Yes, he was Jewish but walked away from his heritage.
  2. Yes, he was Jewish and secretly still observes his faith.
  3. No, he was not Jewish but had a Jewish friend that he defended even at his own peril.
  4. No, he was not Jewish but identified his friend as Jewish when his own life was threatened.

5. The movie ends with Alex, little Igor, Alex’s mother and father in attendance at the grandfather’s funeral. Is this how it happened in the book?

  1. No, because by the time the grandfather takes his own life, Alex has already told his father that the family does not need him.
  2. No, we only know the grandfather intends to commit suicide by we do not hear of his funeral.
  3. No, because the grandfather does not die in the book.

A favorite quote: “She has become an expert at confusing what is with what was and what should be with what could be.”

Answers: 3, 4, [3 or 4] 4, and 1.