Anthony Doerr's All The Light We Cannot See Offers Deep, Introspective Value
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"It was enough when Werner was a boy, wasn't it? A world of wildflowers blooming up and carrot peels and Frau Elena's fairy tales. Of the sharp smell of tar, and trains passing, and bees humming in the window boxes. String and spit and wire and a voice on the radio offering a loom on which to spin his dreams."
All the Light We Cannot See is an emotional novel that looks at war, survival, and the interesting ways that fate and choices bring us together. The novel drips with depth and gorgeous imagery.
The story follows Marie-Laure Leblanc, a girl who is blind during WWII, as she struggles with the loss of her father and the dangers of trying to do the right thing. Werner Pfennig, an orphan, is the other major protagonist of the novel. Through a twisting plot line, their stories become clearly connected as they fight for survival and to overcome lives that suddenly don't feel like their own.
Doerr's style is truly poetic. From page one of the novel, it is clear that he isn't just an excellent storyteller but a word master:
"At dusk they pour from the sky. They blow across the ramparts, turn cartwheels over rooftops, flutter into the ravines between houses. Entire streets swirl with them, flashing white against the cobbles. Urgent message to the inhabitants of this town, they say. Depart immediately to open country."
Throughout the entire novel, the reader roots for both characters despite their very different circumstances. The novel reminded me that there truly are no winners or losers in war--just people desperate to survive, to protect their dreams, and to hang on to the ones who matter to them while maintaining a sense of dignity and humanity.
The middle of this book was a bit slow-moving for me. I felt that the pace could have been a bit faster. Nonetheless, Doerr's skill at bringing the entire story together underscored the depth and meaning of this work.
This book reminded me of one of my favorites, The Book Thief, because of its focus and style. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a book with deep meaning and purpose.
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