All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History.. 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.
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.
First Impressions: To be honest with you, I didn’t enjoy this book very much at the beginning. Sure, it was a nice read but boy, if it continued to be this descriptive thoughout… how boring!
Highlights: Once I got into the swing of this book I couldn’t put it down. If anything became too overly descriptive I skimmed it. While I liked the stories of Marie-Laure and Werner, I really loved the narrative strand of Sergeant Major von Rumpel and his quest to find the missing jewel. I wish this had been the focus of the novel, creating a bit more thriller-esque like tension but that would be a different book altogether! On another note, I did like how the various references to radio were weaved together.
If I was an editor: It would be hard to make changes without altering the essense of the novel but as I said above, if there was a ‘cat and mouse’/chase element to the novel linked to the jewel I may have enjoyed it even more. This wouldn’t have even been drawn to my attention without von Rumpel’s search for the jewel as this narrative thread showed the potential for this to occur.
Overall: A dense yet enchanting WW2 story.
All the Light We Cannot See: 5 Stars