Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
A gorgeous book about how our family history makes us who we are.
A young Jewish writer visit his grandparent's pre-war hometown in Ukraine. He wants to find out more about himself and incorporate that understanding into his novel. Half of the book is the resulting magical realism novel set over a hundred years ago in a small European shtetl. The other half is a laugh-out-loud recollection of the Ukrainian visit as viewed through the correspondence of the local driver as he takes the author on a trip with the driver's ailing grandfather and his "seeing-eye bitch" dog Sammy Davis Jr. Jr.
Safran Foer's debut work, this novel absolutely blew me away with its playfulness with language and convention. Managing to be achingly funny and reaching to the very core of humanity in one novel is no easy feat, but Safran Foer achieves it superbly. One my top top favourite novels of all time.