All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Find in catalogThe two main characters could not be more opposed but are so appealing and so finely drawn that in spite of ourselves we can’t help rooting for both: Werner, the Nazi, on the hunt, and Marie-Laure, the young woman drawn into the resistance in  occupied France. Doerr manages to avoid the usual cliches while describing the horrors of World War II. His descriptions of the  physical details of life, from snails at the ocean’s edge to the sounds from an old Victrola, made me feel that I was in the setting.

Questions this book raises: what is the value of art, music, stories, nature, in holding a life together? And what keeps us going? Werner lives for his radio; Marie-Laure, for her father and for her shells; and the frightened, reclusive uncle finds he is alive again when he engages with the struggle.

The time shifts in the book confused me and I don’t see their purpose, but that seems like a small weakness in a gripping yet sensitive book.


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