American Literature · Classic · Contemporary · Excerpt · Historical Fiction · Holocaust · Jewish Culture · Jewish Literature · Paraphrase · Passage · Quote · War · World War II

Jonathan Safran Foer

From space, astronauts can see people making love as a tiny speck of light. Not light, exactly, but a glow that could be mistaken for light–a coital radiance that takes generations to pour like honey through the darkness to the astronaut’s eyes.

In about one and a half centuries–after the lovers who made the glow will have long been laid permanently on their backs–metropolises will be seen from space. They will glow all year. Smaller cities will also be seen, but with great difficulty. Shtetls will be virtually impossible to spot. Individual couples, invisible.

Some nights, some places are a little brighter. It’s difficult to stare at New York City on Valentine’s Day, or Dublin on St. Patrick’s. The old walled city of Jerusalem lights up like a candle on each of Chanukah’s eight nights…We’re here, the glow…will say in one and a half centuries. We’re here, and we’re alive.

― Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated. (Harper Perennial; Reprint edition April 1, 2003) Originally published April 16th 2001.

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