Yay, more Jonathan!
This is his first novel. It the story about 'Jonathan' going to Ukraine finding out about his family roots, looking for the woman who saved his grand dad from the Nazi's. Jonathan goes there with his translator Alex (who is the funniest guy ever) and Alex' grand dad who is the driver and blind. They also have a guiding dog, Sammy Davis Jr. Jr. Wonderful!!
And it's the story about his family's town Trachimbrod. It's beautiful! And weird. To be honest it is really confusing in the beginning with all it characters, remembering who is who and who does what ... and so on. But once you got into the story it very readable.
Though it is very funny at most times, it also a very sad story ... about love and how to love, about sadness and how to be sad.
There is also a movie, which only covers Jonathan's journey with Alex and his grand dad. It such a nice movie, full of unbelievably beautiful scenery of Ukraine, weirdly cool music and fun. I find that you get to know the travelers a lot better in the movie than in book because the focus of the book is more on Alex as well as Trachimbrod.
Although the novel is again a book you can read more often and it doesn't get boring, I must say that his second novel (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) is a lot more grown up and wiser and written more comprehensible and less confusing. So if you want to give Jonathan a try start with Extremely Loud and go then over to Illuminated. But then, what do I know, I just love everything Jonathan writes ... can't help it!