“Radio: it ties a million ears to a single mouth.”
“Her fingers walk the tightrope of sentences…”
All The Light We Cannot See was this month’s book club choice, and as this has been on my TBR pile
for a while it makes this read feel like a double accomplishment.
First off, the writing in this book is beautiful. As beautiful as the cover imaging.
The story is set primarily between France and Germany, with the lion share of the story unfolding between 1934 and 1944. The narrative tracks primarily Werner and Marie-Laure; Werner is a very gifted orphan whos father passed away in a mining accident who finds a way to escape working in the mines himself, Marie-Laure is a gifted, charming blind girl who’s life changes completely when her and her father have to escape occupied Paris for Saint-Malo.
I finished this book in about six days, a combination of how addictive this book is and the fact I had a couple days off spent primarily at Whitsand Bay. Anthony Doerr created a world I wanted to dive into at every spare moment, I was desperate to find how Werner and Marie-Laure’s stories would entwine.
I found the first two thirds of the novel more enjoyable than the final third. As much as I enjoyed this novel, I will be donating it to charity. I’m glad this came into my life, but I will not be recommending it at the same level of overexcitement which I did Pet Sematary
of The Five People You Meet in Heaven.
That said, as much as I don’t expect to re-read this book, I can appreciate how beautiful it is. Part of me wants to pass this onto my dad, who though he isn’t a big reader loves radio.
There is a short video on YouTube from the author explaining how the story composed itself.
For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic layers within the invaluable diamond that her father guards in the Museum of Natural History. The walled city by the sea, where father and daughter take refuge when the Nazis invade Paris. And a future which draws her ever closer to Werner, a German orphan, destined to labour in the mines until a broken radio fills his life with possibility and brings him to the notice of the Hitler Youth.
In this magnificent, deeply moving novel, the stories of Marie-Laure and Werner illuminate the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.
Similar books to try;
The Book Thief; Markus Zusak