All the Light We Cannot See
Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea.
In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance.
Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.
If there ever was one book all WW2 lovers should read, it’s this one. Winning the Pulitzer Prize was no accident. It’s the kind of novel which stays with you for a very long time.
First of all, All the Light We Cannot See has an intriguing and pretty refreshing dual narrative: one from a French girl who reads Jules Verne in braille and whose father, the widowed
locksmith of the Museum of Natural History in Paris, sends her to be reared by a half-crazy uncle in the coastal fortress town of Saint-Malo in Brittany when Paris becomes too dangerous, and the second from a young orphaned German soldier who rises in the ranks thanks to his ingenuity with radios. Two enemies who don’t know about each other for the better part of the story, and yet have so much in common. The story simmers with menace and heartache; a true rollercoaster, heartbreaking and stunning up till the very last page, wrapped in beautiful prose.
Amazing. Beautiful. Exceptional. 5-stars-aren’t-enough. An absolute must-read.
My 5-starred books:
The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah
All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr (favorite read)
Then She Was Gone, by Lisa Jewell
Life and Other Near-Death Experiences Life and Other Near-Death Experiences, by Camille Pagán