Saturday, 26 December 2015

Book Review: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Read: December 22-26    Verdict: 5 Stars

All The Light We Cannot See is a tale of two teenagers on the opposite sides of war and how events eventually bring them together to help them save each other and to touch each other's lives in unexpected ways. Marie-Laure is a blind girl living with her father in Paris and Werner is a young German boy living in a mining village who comes to the attention of the Hitler Youth.

I loved this book. From the setting to the way it was written and how both Werner and Marie-Laure told their stories and step-by-step they drew closer and closer to one another. It was utterly captivating. The first few pages in the book are set in a French village in 1944 and it becomes clear that the two main characters are in the same location. The way the story skims through different views is like a standing moment in time and I really loved it and it really set the scene.

Flashback to when the characters were younger and we begin to learn more about them. From Werner's childhood to Marie-Laure's battles with learning how to be independent while blind and her love for her father and Werner's love for his sister. I loved the connection that eventually came about with the stories Werner and Jutta heard on the radio and how we eventually learn how this is connected to Marie-Laure, it was very subtle at first but I loved it.

I found the prose and descriptions in this book extremely beautiful, Marie-Laure's chapters in particular. Because she is never describing what she is seeing, she is using every other kind of sense to bring the scene to the reader's mind eye and it works. I could see where Marie-Laure was even though she couldn't see it herself.

I liked the subtle magical element with the Sea of Flames though I do think the reality of the magic in it was down to the reader. We could decide whether everything was simply a coincidence or whether the diamond did have something to do with the train of events.

I found myself just reading and reading and reading, and because of the way most chapters were quite short it didn't take me long before I was really making progress through the book. While the story isn't action-packed, I found it to be fast-paced in the best possible way. I could have just soaked in the words and descriptions all day long. This was a fantastic historical read and I really recommend it. I can't wait to read more of Doerr's work now.

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