Tuesday, February 17, 2015

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2014
Publisher: Scribner
Genre: France, Germany, historical, WWII
Hardback: 544 pages
Rating: 5

From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, a stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure's agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.

In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.

Doerr's gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work.


My two-bits:

Such a beautiful story although not in regards to the main subject matter - WWII. So, I will borrow a phrase I picked up in the book to best describe this tale - beautiful ugly.

It is one of those stories where certain characters have passions that are so engrossing to them that it makes you interested in it as well. And, these passions are such driving forces in their lives that directs the path and pattern of their lives.

What I found fascinating was to see how in this story things came together and cross paths and shift back and forth yet all made some kind of sense in the end.


* added this to my Bookish Bingo challenge - square: Blue Cover

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