“Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.” — Anthony Doerr.
Or in other words, see and read this beautiful book before you die. You’ll be glad you did.
“All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr
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. (Taken from Goodreads)
Oh. My. Goodness. This book, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the most fabulous pieces of literature I have ever come upon. Every sentence is so rich in description and detail. Doerr truly knows how to appeal to his reader’s senses. The way that he describes every scene, character, and object is amazing. Reading this novel is like walking through a priceless art museum; it’s breathtaking.
One of my favorite things about this book is that it tells the stories of two individuals (Marie-Laure and Werner) growing up during the dark times of World War II. Both Marie-Laure’s and Werner’s stories begin during their young childhoods when the war is just starting to arise. Through their perspectives, we are able to watch the world unfold under the increasing German control.
From an old house in Saint-Malo to a brutal Hitler Youth campground, this story takes its characters across borders and into unexpected war zones. There is never a dull moment during any one of the character’s stories.
I truly could not put this book down.
Marie-Laure and Werner have reached my list of some of my top favorite characters. Although in different situations, both of these characters have so much in common. They are genuine, relatable, and are very, very strong. By taking me along their journeys of war and survival, Marie-Laure and Werner have shown me what is was like to live during those daunting times. Marie-Laure’s unbreakable courage and Werner’s heart-driven strength has inspired me greatly.
Of course, not every book is perfect, but this one comes close to it. All the Light We Cannot See is definitely one to put on your bookshelf, especially if you are into historical fiction. It is a riveting, powerful, and inspirational story of love, trust, and ever-growing courage.