Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Review: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr


From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, a stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel 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 within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure's agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.

In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.

Doerr's gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work


Hardcover, 544 pages
Expected publication: May 6th 2014 by Scribner
 
Terri's Thoughts
 
I received an advanced copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is May 6, 2014.
 
I will not be able to put in to words how this book has touched me and I am not sure if it is even worth the effort to attempt it.  There is simply no way to describe how wonderful it is without the novel speaking for itself.
 
This story depicts the war from both sides of the battle however it focuses on the emotional journey of its main characters and the inner battles that they must deal with.  It also outlines the circumstances that bring each character on its journey and shows the human side of war and the fact that you can not label everyone based on which side they were on.
 
The stories of Marie Laure and Werner were both intriguing, tragic and wonderful.  I was in both of their corners from day one.  The way the story weaved from each of their stories and intertwined the past working its way to the present was brilliant.  The writing style had me glued to the pages
 
This is not a happy go lucky story.  It is honest and truthful and a deeply powerful portrayal of wartime.  Readers who are expecting everything to be wrapped up neatly and happy by the end will be disappointed.  Those who want a story that depicts real wartime with likeable characters will be rewarded.  I tend to read stories very fast and I took my time with this one.  I am glad I did as I may have missed the true essence of this story.
 
I feel like I have said nothing about this book however it is one that must be experienced and not described.  I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of wartime stories and wants to read something that does not sensationalize the war.  This story is going to stick with me for a long time.  I will be looking for more work by Doerr after losing myself in this story
 
About the Author


Anthony Doerr is the author of five books, The Shell Collector , About Grace , Memory Wall , Four Seasons in Rome and All the Light We Cannot See . Doerr’s fiction has won four O. Henry Prizes and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, and The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. He has won the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize, the Rome Prize, the Story Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Award, and the Ohioana Book Award three times. Doerr lives in Boise, Idaho. Become a fan on Facebook and stay up-to-date on his latest publications


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