Saturday, December 16, 2017

all the light we cannot see; a review of the novel

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book made a big splash and has been reviewed extensively. An analysis by me will add nothing of significance to all this, but there are a couple of things about my experience of reading it that I'd like to record.

Doerr has written invisibly to me in the sense that I wasn't aware of any writing at all, just pictures, situations, ideas, connections, people and story. It felt like a very big and generous story, lacking nothing, laced together in overlapping time periods and contrasting mind sets. The author had me hooked by the end of the first page and won't let go even as I try to get into another book.

Highly recommended

View all my reviews

the blurb on Goodreads:

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, a New York Times Book Review Top Ten Book, National Book Award finalist, more than two and a half years on the New York Times bestseller list

From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the stunningly beautiful 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 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. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

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.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. 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).

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