Ha, I actually finished one! :-)
I'd been looking forward to Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything is Illuminated for literally years. Joe raved about it but lent the book to someone so I couldn't read it at the time... In the meantime I read the author's other book, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and was very impressed. Now I finally got to the original recommendation.
And I was slightly disappointed. I liked it, but I didn't love it. And I wanted to (and expected to) love it.
I absolutely loved the language used by Alex, the Ukrainian translator. The way he expresses himself, using English words that don't quite belong together, is wonderful. Unique and clever, this way of using language is certainly impressive.
I also liked the various techniques the author used to talk about the various characters who lived during the war, and even way before. In these parts too, his use of language is beautiful and amazing. The phrasing sometimes made me wonder how long it took him to write this book - do such imaginative ways of portraying things really come naturally to some people? Or do they have to work at it?
I did not like the parts about the distant history of the main village and quickly became frustrated with how frequent/long they were at the beginning of the book. I really think that the second half was better for me because the timelines merged more and there was no more of this strange history.
If it wasn't for these parts I would have loved this sad book. It certainly is a different way of talking about the horrible nature of war and what it does to regular human nature. I'd recommend it to everyone out there, it's one of these books that I think you should try for yourself.
Challenges: 1% Well-Read, 2010 Countdown Challenge, 2nds Challenge, 999 Challenge, A-Z Challenge, War through the Generations