The first word that comes to mind when I reflect on Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See is Symphony.
The ebb and flow, as well as the author’s co-narrator construction, pulls you through the heart-wrenching lives of the characters much like a symphony guides you through some of the most enchanting musical compositions.
Set against the backdrop of World War II Europe, All the Light We Cannot See follows the parallel journeys of Marie-Laure LeBlanc, a Parisian girl, blind from the age of six, whose father works as a locksmith for the Museum of Natural History, and Warner Pfennig, a German orphan who, through his natural talent with radios and circuitry is pulled into the Hitler Youth and life as a soldier during the progressing German invasion.
As the war continues, Marie and Warner grow up. We follow Marie-Laure from Paris to Saint-Malo where she and her father take refuge with her Great-Uncle, and see Werner enter and thrive in school as a Hitler Youth, while always feeling the memory of his sister, Jutta pulling him back to the reality of the world around him.
Amid the growing fear, secret dissent, and increasingly confusing world, Marie-Laure has something coveted by the German Reich: a precious stone from the Museum of Natural History. Amid the illness, death, and cruelty of war Warner finds something forbidden by the German Reich: a man’s voice, illegally transmitted, explaining scientific wonders and playing music.
The journey’s of Marie-Laure and Warner cross only briefly when they meet in a flash of fate, but are more connected than they will ever know.
More than once, I had tears in my eyes, and I am not a cryer! There are such beautiful moments in this book, and the story is sewn together in a style that makes you never want to put it down. Doerr certainly knows how to pull you in, and make you feel you are standing right next to the characters as they fight to survive and search out the light in a crazy broken world.
Final review: 5/5
A must-read for: Anyone who loves The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
© Elaine Marie Blog 2018