All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

IMG_20141203_142340All the Light We Cannot See
By Anthony Doerr
Published 2014 by Fourth Estate

4 stars

Goodreads synopsis:  The epic new novel, set during WW2, from Sunday Times Short Story Prize-winner Anthony Doerr.

Marie-Laure has been blind since the age of six. Her father builds a perfect miniature of their Paris neighbourhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. But when the Nazis invade, father and daughter flee with a dangerous secret.

Werner is a German orphan, destined to labour in the same mine that claimed his father’s life, until he discovers a knack for engineering. His talent wins him a place at a brutal military academy, but his way out of obscurity is built on suffering.

At the same time, far away in a walled city by the sea, an old man discovers new worlds without ever setting foot outside his home. But all around him, impending danger closes in.

Doerr’s combination of soaring imagination and meticulous observation is electric. As Europe is engulfed by war and lives collide unpredictably, ‘All The Light We Cannot See’ is a captivating and devastating elegy for innocence.

First of all, I want to say that I haven’t actually read that many novels based around WW2. The only one that comes to mind is actually a Finnish classic The Unknown Soldier by Väinö Linna. I don’t know if All the Light We Cannot See portrayed the war correctly but I was really immersed in the story and the things that happened to the characters.

The book is told mainly from two different perspectives, Marie-Laure’s and Werner’s. It starts from their childhoods, before the war, how things changed slowly, but surely at Germany and how when the war came to France, everything changed so fast around Marie-Laure.

The main theme on the book is clearly radios and how people could connect with them to  other people around the world. It was interesting to read how people viewed radios, when they are not that important anymore in today’s world and how they affected the world then. The best moments on the book for me were when Werner is small and listens with his sister to this French man, telling about science and teaching kids and at the end of the book when Marie-Laure reads her book in the radio her grandfather has hidden and Werner hears her.

I loved the main characters, especially Marie-Laure. She was such a brave girl and she never gave up, even though her blindness gave her sometimes serious disadvantages. I liked also some of the side characters even though they didn’t feel that well fleshed out but that didn’t really bother as I was reading the story. I would have loved to hear more of Werner’s sisters point of view too, it would have been really interesting to read what happened to her when she stayed at the orphanage.

I loved this book and the ending was so sad. Also it made me want to read more books about the WW1 and 2 so if you have any suggestions on books I should read, leave them down below! Also comment if you have read this book and tell me your thoughts on it!


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