ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE, Anthony Doerr
ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE tells the story of World War II through the narratives of two children. Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris; Werner, along with his sister, is growing up in an orphanage in a mining town in Germany.
When Marie-Laure goes blind at six, her father builds a miniature of their neighborhood and gradually she learns how to navigate the streets, first with him and eventually alone. By age 12, the Nazis occupy Paris and her father, who works in the Museum of Natural History, takes her to Saint Malo to live with her eccentric uncle. They carry with them something precious to the French.
Werner, an extremely bright boy, evades his future in the mines by making himself useful to a scientist through his ability to build and repair radios. But eventually he finds himself in the Hitler Youth and he becomes part of dangerous operations.He is the less sympathetic of the two but perhaps the more interesting, standing in for the Germans who didn't balk when they should have.
Eventually these two characters come together in Saint Malo.
ALL THE LIGHT is written in short chapters that vibrate with Doerr's great gift for description. These are two memorable characters and their stories will not fail to draw you in. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, it became a best seller and is the darling of book groups across the country. It's the sort of book you feel virtuous for reading. But it was a book I admired more than liked.
For more reviews, see Barrie Summy.