Misc. Historical Fiction.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

“Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.”  

This book took me quite a long time to read. Its around 500 pages long, and because I’ve been so engrossed with the start of the new semester I could only dip in and out. But now, I’ve finished it. It is about the blind daughter of a locksmith and a German boy soldier-in-training whose paths collide during World War II.

For one thing, the language is very beautiful and flowery. Doerr is great at describing scenery. But because the chapters were so short it felt like it was just a series of vignettes which made up the bigger story.
There was supposed to be a blossoming ‘romance’ between Werner and the blind Marie-Laure but it was given so little time to develop that I didn’t really mourn for its abrupt ending. It was sad that Werner’s friend Frederick ended up as he did, because he seemed like a good character and was just a victim of circumstance. However, that being said, the link between the radio Werner listened to (and fixed) and Marie-Laure proved to be rather interesting and perhaps justified the long wait to reach the conclusion of the book.

The way Doerr writes about his characters and paints pictures of them with words is truly wonderful. It is very stark with the scenery changing so rapidly that when bad things happen to the characters, it takes more time for it to all sink in.

Perhaps because I read it over such a long period of time I lost any personal connections with the characters that I may have forged in the beginning. Doerr brings to life the way of living in fear in St. Malo in World War II. It really is something, considering that now people probably think of it as little more than a tourist destination or another stop from A to B.

Some reviews I have read of it go into great paroxysms trying to describe the book’s brilliance. Indeed, I wouldn’t go that far but it certainly is something worth reading if you want to take your time over something and want a book which you won’t read and forget about in a day or two.

Ultimately, a good book. It was sold to me as a book similar to the Book Thief but with more mature themes. I don’t think I quite agree with that but its always going to be near-impossible to sum up the plot of a book adequately.

MY RATING: *** / *****

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