Sometimes I struggle to write a review. Not true this time. All the Light We Cannot See was sent to me by the publisher in two forms - audio and hardback print. It's wonderful. I was mesmerized from the beginning. The plot would seem to circle around the lose of a famous diamond that is cursed and housed in the Museum of Natural History in Paris. It is said that whoever possesses the diamond will live forever but will lose all his friends and family, one by one. So the story begins.
Yet this is a tale of war and of the people it affects. There is a French girl, Marie-Laure, who is blind who lives with her beloved father who works as a locksmith for the museum. There is an orphan boy, Werner, who is entranced with radios and how they work and finds himself recruited into German youth training. There is a self-centered general, Von Rumpel, whose cruelty is matched only by his drive to find the diamond that may save his life. These are key characters, yes, but others add so much depth.
Marie-Laure's uncle and his housekeeper are active in the resistance and risk their lives daily. The reader can't help but experience their fear and courage as they continue to work against German occupation. There is Werner's sister, Jutta, who struggles to survive starvation, rape and war itself and thinking often about her brother. Volkheimer, the gentle giant with a cruel reputation, was a friend to Werner but whose friendship he questions. Will he expose Werner's actions when they do not support the war? And, there is Frederick whose love for birds and independent thought expose him to beatings during training that damage his brain yet leave him living.
Can I write more? Yes, there is the reality of war, hope and survival expressed over and over again. This is a novel to be read, experienced and remembered. I absolutely loved it and can't recommend it enough. I'm overjoyed that the publisher sent it.
This was the February 2015 pick in my online book club, The Reading Cove.
I must say, I have mixed feelings about this read. On one hand, I thought the writing was very elegant, beautifully poetic and high quality. But on the other hand, the execution of the time shifts seriously choked the pacing of the narrative far too much. The brief glimpse a few years ahead was engaging, but once the narrative shifted into the main backstory, the train almost stopped moving altogether! What's more, the technique wasn't even used for foreshadowing or to create mystery. There seemed to be no real purpose for the time shifts at all.
Werner, a young German boy, and Marie-Laure, a young French girl, both come to life in this WWII period and the author's descriptions of how each discovers all the light they cannot see is definitely worthwhile. The writing has a rich texture to it, and creates a great sense of atmosphere, but in the end, I was disappointed and found myself eager to get to the end.
Overall, would I be willing to read more from this author? Yes, I would. The quality of the writing was impressive enough to overshadow the pacing issue I didn't care for. B-/C+
Beautifully written with characters you care for immediately. Marie is a blind French girl and her story is told in alternating short chapters along with a very intelligent German youth named Werner during the occupation of France in WW2.
The only problem I had was the time shifts, as I found myself having to go back to see which time period I was reading about. Otherwise, the story was intriguing enough to keep me reading until the end. It was a sad story, but had a satisfactory conclusion. Excellent book which I wholeheartedly recommend.
I did enjoy this book. I have to say that I wish I hadn't read it immediately after finishing The Book Thief, which I absolutely loved. Both books take place in the early 40's , from the points of view of people on different sides of that horrible time in Germany and France. All of the stories are captivating, I just felt more for Markus Zusak's characters.
All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is a World War II story, but it is not about the politics, battles, winners, or losers of the war. It is about two young individuals - one on either side of the conflict - who are both victims of the war. The intricate, circular structure of the book between Marie-Laure's story and Werner's story provides a beautiful rhythm and flow to the story.
Read my complete review at: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2014/09/all-light-we-cannot-see.html
Beautifully written, interesting storylines, engaging characters and shifts in time. Fairly realistic, filled with plenty of wartime atrocities, but with beauty as well.
I didn't love the time shifts. I think it helped build tension, but just as things were getting "good" you would go back a few years or something.
The chapters are very short, so this book reads really quickly as I continued to read "just one more".
Lovely yet horrifying. It really illuminated certain things about WWII and you can easily begin to understand both the French and the German youth.
Read it for bookclub and it was quite universally enjoyed. We had a good question and answer session. Recommended for engaging discussions.
I saw this book in the library and knowing it was on my wish list, I decided to check it out. I started reading it and thought ..... great I picked out another Hitler book.....I am getting tired of reading them. Mind you I have read some really goods ones too. But I feel like I was hitting a rut where books are concerned. I still kept reading.. The book is an easy read and keeps you interested no doubt. But honestly I did not appreciate what I was reading until close to the end. There are some profound statements that sum up so much of what happened throughout this time period. These statements tugged my heart. Would I recommend this book. You bet
The story is based during WWII with the focus on the French Occupation and the liberation of France. It follows several young lives from early childhood, and how they are changed forever by war. Beautifully written - indescribably sad. D.
This novel had the best flowing language I have read in a very long time
Marie-Laure and Werner are two young individuals growing up in different cultures during WW II. Marie-Laure has a constant secret and Werner is an absolute genius with radios and hardware to fix radios.
War always has more than one side and this book is absolute evidence of that.
I was a little disappointed with the ending, but, it is what it is, it was not my work to create.
This in one of the exceptional books I've thoroughly enjoyed reading. Doerr writes seeing the world through "eyes" of a blind girl, and knows much about many subjects.. His writing flows from the beginning, writing eloquently of the good, and often, of the haunting scenes of life during wartime. He writes about many people: a locksmith, a young German who struggles being a member of the Youth organization, writes about cities in Germany, Paris and throughout France. A book not to miss reading.
I read this book because of all the enthusiasm for it, but I could never get into it. I finished it, waiting for the aha! moment, but it never came.
Maybe it was because the expectation was too high. The story was ok. The characters were ok. But I was never really immersed in it.
Winner of the Booker Pulitzer Prize, various other awards, and a NY Times best seller for two and a half years. Story set before and after WWII in Germany and France, two warring countries, contrasting and interweaving the lives of the people about the Nazi occupation of France, about how radio broadcasts alerted the German military to covert actions and the French Resistance. Deeply moving, shocking, poignant, and irrestible. 10 years in the writing, this book is incredible. The alternating short stories can be difficult to follow, but that would be the only setback for e in reading it, highly recommend.
The stories of two children in Europe during WWII-one a young blind girl, and the other a German boy-told separately, but they do eventually come together. Haunting is the best word I can come up with.
I felt unsatisfied as I finished this book. I didn't get much out of it. I liked the book but did not feel for the characters. I had the impression this was more of a love story but, spoiler alert, they barely meet. There are so many books out there to read, find something better written.