All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr
A blind French girl's and a German boy's paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. 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. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel. In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.


Reviewed: 2019-09-22
Not a fast or easy read for me, this story is built on beautiful imagery and chillingly elegant prose. A different view of the effect of WWII. Such a Beautiful and haunting story.
Reviewed: 2018-10-06
Reviewed: 2016-01-05

It was a great read. I picked it up towards the end of my summer break and finally picked it up again at the end of the quarter, and it was so easy to just get right back into it. 

I thought that the two story lines, as well as the jumps in time, were great, and I loved that we repeatedly were suddenly reminded about the dire situations that both characters were in, all while the flashbacks went on to, bit by bit, help us understand how they got into such dire situations. 

However, I did feel somewhat unsatisfied by the ending. Maybe it was because I hadn't picked it up in so long, but it felt as though, yeah it was a reasonable way to tie up all the story lines, I didn't get the payoff I expected after my emotional investment. Still, it was a great book.

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