Monday, July 25, 2016

All the Light You Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See
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.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times.)” From Goodreads
Where does the title come from?
The author explains in his own words: "The title is a reference first and foremost to all the light we literally cannot see: that is, the wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum that are beyond the ability of human eyes to detect (radio waves, of course, being the most relevant). It’s also a metaphorical suggestion that there are countless invisible stories still buried within World War II — that stories of ordinary children, for example, are a kind of light we do not typically see. Ultimately, the title is intended as a suggestion that we spend too much time focused on only a small slice of the spectrum of possibility." - Anthony Doerr

I’ve read many books and watched many movies about WWII. The stories that come out of war – any war are endless.
There is a reason Doerr won the Pulitzer Prize for this book. It is unforgettable. Parts of this story will be with me always. 
After reading many war stories, it isn’t often an author can come up with details, descriptions we haven’t already been made aware of – but Doerr does.
No matter what we’ve been taught about this war, Doerr is able to add to my information – not so much the bloody part that we often hear about but the “mind” behind all of Germany at that time. His description of raciological exams was very interesting to me. Hitler was so precise on what he wanted this “perfect” race to be like.
Also, as Doerr shows throughout his book there were Germans who were good people. This is something that is often forgotten when studying this war.

It always seems to begin with a very few who hate, then like a snow ball rolling down a snow-covered hill it grows so large it’s hard to believe there are actually those who don’t hate.

Doerr’s style of switching characters and switching time back and forth confused me a bit.- I really had to be careful to watch the dates on each new section so as not to get more confused. (I confuse easily!!) But I never got so confused that I wanted to stop reading. At first I kept thinking “why does he (Doerr) keep doing this – by the end of the book I didn’t care that he did it.

If you like reading about WWII – this book must be added to your library.

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