Thursday, February 12, 2015
ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE- Anthony Doerr
ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE is my latest adult read.
Good and evil.
I loved it.
ALL THE LIGHT is the story of two characters, a little French girl, Marie Laure, and a German boy, Werner. Marie Laure lives with her father, who is a locksmith at the Museum of Natural History in France. Marie-Laure is blind, and her father has built a tiny village, totally to scale, so that she can memorize, then traverse her neighborhood. When Paris is occupied by the Nazis, Marie-Laure and her father travel to the seaside town of Saint Malo to live with an uncle, whose own WWI experiences have left him an agoraphobic. Marie-Laure's father carries a valuable gem, a treasure given to him by the museum to protect.
Far away, Werner is an orphan, growing up with a younger sister in Nazi Germany. Their father was killed in a mining accident, and the two siblings live in a kind of foster home. Werner is fascinated by electronic devices and becomes an expert at repairing and transmitting messages by radios. These skills lead him to a place in the Hitler Youth. Werner's job is to use the radio to ferret out nationalists who are transmitting messages for their countries, a job which he likes less and less.
Doerr's crafting of the book is pretty much genius. When the story opens, both Marie-Laure and Werner are in the war-torn town of Saint Malo in France. Doerr then takes the reader back in time, alternating chapters of Marie-Laure and Werner. Throughout the book, the reader knows that somehow the two characters paths are going to cross, but it's hard to imagine when or where that intersection might occur.
I devoured the book the first time for the story, which I totally loved. It's probably geeky, but this weekend I'm planning on reading the book again, this time to pay more attention to how Doerr crafted the book, because his use of time, and his back and forth between the characters is pretty much amazing. I'm going to be taking lots of notes because we have book club next weekend and I want to be prepared. This is also one of the those books with lots of really powerful lines, the kind you copy down and think about for a long, long time.
ALL THE LIGHT is a long one (544 pages!) but it's well worth the read!