All the Light We Cannot See

13 January, 2017

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller 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 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.

Historical fiction isn't really my cup of tea when it comes to choosing books. I have a hard time removing myself from the story and find myself expecting female characters to behave as if it were present day. But this was the January selection for the book club I belong to so I gave it chance.

And I am oh so glad that I did!

This was a great read. Despite the fact that the ending felt a bit rushed, I adored the characters the book introduced us to. In their own ways, they were sympathetic, eccentric and engaging. Doerr brought you into each of their worlds and really put a tangible feeling to their situations. It was a story I didn't want to end because I didn't want to say good-bye to any of them. Well, maybe just one.....Reinhold Von Rumple, but you'll have to read the book to find out why.

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