Friday, October 2, 2015

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Publication Date:  May 6, 2014
Publisher:  Scribner
Pages:  530
Series:  Stand Alone
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Synopsis:  Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. 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, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

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. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Review:  Falling in love with this book is not a difficult thing.  A handful of sentences in and you're enchanted.  Without a doubt, this is a novel that is nothing short of exceptional.  For it is one thing to fall in love with a book, but an entirely separate thing altogether to be aware of the fall at all.

Open your eyes and see what you can with them before the close forever.

The words are powerful but always concise. They never drag on into irrelevant territory. There is a certain eloquence that captivates you, pulls you into this ethereal place where time does not exist.  It is such a lovely and fragile thing.  

The imagery isn't simply images--descriptions of colors and scents--but conjures a sense of existing within the story, just as real as any fictional thing can be.  This, among a myriad of others, is why this book matters.  It isn't a history--it's a story.  There is an astounding and often unrecognized difference.

To shut your eyes is to guess nothing of blindness. Beneath your world of skies and faces and buildings exists a rawer and older world, a place where surface planes disintegrate and sounds ribbon in shoals through the air.

The amount of detail, not in the battles themselves, but in the lives those battles affect is extraordinary, exquisite, excellent--all of the words beginning with ex.  Not only this, but it exemplifies the injustice of it all.  What the war did to the world, to people, to children.  How it warped them so that even the most compassionate turn to killing.  How far will you go when you have no choices left?

The plot is framed around two children--Werner and Marie-Laure--both victims of World War II and each on opposing sides of the war.  Werner: dreamer, genius, Nazi.  Marie Laure: blind, clever, strong.  The war changed both of their lives in unimaginable and irreversible ways.  I am fond of them both and of the characters that shaped their stories.  The singular flaw is that the pacing was quite slow, although that in itself allows you the time to appreciate what it is you are reading.

All your life you wait, and then it finally comes, and are you ready?

All the Light We Cannot See is not one I will soon forget.  It is one of the very few I hope endure to be read generations later.  It is poignant novel about humanity and the loss of it.  Everyone was a victim in that war, even the villains.  It is bittersweet and infinite. Maybe you cannot see light, but you can certainly read of it in this book.

4.5 Keys

     

16 comments:

  1. This book sounds wonderful and like it is one that I am destined to fall in love with. Oh, the whole thing just seems perfect. I can visualise it on my bookshelf, inbetween The Book Thief and Code Name Verity.... ah I NEED IT. I saw this book in Waterstones the other week - why didn't I pick it up!?!? Erin, your review is splendid - it is extraordinary, exquisite, excellent AND exceptionally exemplary in the way it expertly explains your exultations regarding the book. (Ha! That's as many words beginning with ex I can fit in the sentence ;-))

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    1. You will, without a doubt, fall as deeply in love with this one as I have! It is indescribable. You MUST read is as soon as humanly possible. Go back to Waterstones--buy it! Also, that is quite a collection of E-X words you found there! XD I'm actually quite impressed. Thanks so much for commenting, Rebekah!

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  2. I am really excited to get to this one. Although the slow pace makes me nervous (i am so bad with that) I know I will love this. Glad you enjoyed it so much. Lovely review!

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    1. I hope you read this one soon--it is so beautiful and definitely worth the slower pace. Thanks for commenting! <3

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  3. I gotta read this. A friend of my said she was in tears while reading this and recommendation it. Thanks for the review, lovely job! :)

    anna | annaish

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    1. You HAVE to read this. It is an emotional roller coaster. Thanks for commenting, Anna! XD

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  4. I've wanted to read this book for ages, and I'm so glad that you liked it! I really don't know why I haven't read this already. The way you described it has convinced me that I'm probably going to fall in love with this book. Your review is absolutely beautiful and I'm so jealous of your reviewing skills. :P

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    1. READ IT!!! It is such a wonderful book. I cannot recommend it more. You will fall so deeply in love with this one. It's quite impossible not to, really. Thank you so much, Emma! Reviews are one of my favorite things to write! XD

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  5. Oh my gosh, I have just finished this book as well, and I loved it. I stayed up until midnight just reading. I agree, it is a beautiful story that will have a lasting memory. You have beautiful words in your reviews!

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    1. Isn't it just beautiful? I cannot stop thinking about it. I am so happy you loved it and thank you so much, Kate! XD

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  6. Ohhh, I NEED THIS. Beautiful writing?! That is enough to draw me in. And I've seen this book around but hadn't seen a review for it yet so yay. YOU CONVINCED ME. :D
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

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    1. You REALLY NEED THIS ONE, CAIT! It is drop dead gorgeous. I hadn't see many reviews, either, but am so glad I read it and that I convinced you to! Thanks for commenting!

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  7. Gah! I really want to read this book! I mean, I've had it in my TBR for more than a year, but I completeyl forgot aboutit until this review. It sounds all kinds of beautiful. :)

    Vane at Books With Chemistry

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    1. You really do! It is such a gorgeous book and I HIGHLY recommend it. I hope you love it. Thanks for commenting!

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  8. Replies
    1. It's a brilliant book, isn't it? Thanks for commenting! XD

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