Title: All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Genre: Historical Fiction
Blurb: (from goodreads) 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.
Me: I DO NOT HAVE WORDS. I AM JUST SPEECHLESS. NO. WORDS.
The Ups: Okay. You may be thinking this is just another WWII book. And yes, it is a story set in WWII. But there is no book like it. It is so complete, so wonderful, so beautiful.
There are books that tell a story. Then there are books that radiate truths about the human soul, about human nature, about human life. All the Light We Cannot See is one of those books.
I have always been fascinated by the fact that there are billions of lives on Earth, which means billions of interactions, billions of meetings, billions of moments you get only once. We are exposed to only certain moments of people's lives, and the more we see, the better we know the person.
But how can you express that haunting feeling of a short encounter whose memory lasts for a lifetime? How can you understand how the best of people come together in the worst of times? All the Light You Cannot See captures this perfectly.
Marie-Laure is quiet, intelligent, and loyal. She loves the people near her dearly, even as she loses them one by one. The setbacks of being blind have matured her beyond her years, yet she still has a fascination with little animals and organisms, and loves to read.
Werner is a Hitler Youth with a knack for wires and transmissions. He is smart and is amazing at what he does, yet his mind never fails to question. He spots the ripples in the seemingly-perfect Nazi society, and does not know what to do about them.
Both stories are so wonderfully told that Marie-Laure, Werner, and all the surrounding characters embed themselves into your heart. Their fear, their love, their small triumphs are one with the reader, and it is as if the reader is living in those times.
The story of their brief meeting and the impact of their encounter is breathtaking. To think that simply another human being, a complete stranger, can change your life so subtly yet remarkably. It is not often a book writes such a unique story, but maybe that's what makes this one so special.
The research and the blood, sweat, and tears in order for this book to come alive are apparent. I do believe this book deserves nothing but praise. I have fallen in love once again.
Overall: A book forever to be in my memory. The beautiful story that reflects the small beauties of life and those priceless encounters of suffering people.
Rating: Beat My Scale.