All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

Hi book friends!

I’ve just found a book that’s going on my Goodreads ‘Favourite’ shelf! I only have two books on there from before, so this is quite huge! This is what I will call a true masterpiece! The synopsis is borrowed from Goodreads:

Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them, they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance.

All the Light We Cannot See has been on my TBR for several years, but for some reason, I haven’t gotten around to picking it up from either the library or the bookshop. Then, before my boyfriend and I left the town where our cabin is located, a second-hand bookshop turned up and there this little jewel was, right there at the front of the store for only 30 (!) Krones (£3 ish). My expectations were high for this book, and that can be risky, but not this time! The book was everything I was promised and more. I was in love within the first 40 pages of this 531 pages long novel. I love the way the chapters are written. They are fairly short which makes it easy to read a few chapters even if you’re short of time. However, you will struggle with only reading a few chapters once you start this book! There are two major perspectives in this story, Marie-Laure’s and Werner’s, but occasionally we see the story through the perspective of other characters. This creates depth and understanding of the story and gives the reader, in my opinion, an even better reading experience. These perspectives make the reader engage more with the characters and I found myself growing curious whilst reading to see where the character’s story was heading.

One of the things I found very interesting as a history geek, and as a regular reader, was the way Werner explains the situation in Germany pre-WW2. I quote:

Indeed it does seem to Werner, as the weeks go by, that something new is rising. Mine production increases; unemployment drops. Meat appears at Sunday supper. Lamb, pork, wieners – extravagances unheard of a year before. Frau Elena buys a new couch upholstered in orange corduroy, and a range with burners in black rings; three new Bibles arrive from the consistory in Berlin; a laundry boiler is delivered to the back door. Werner gets new trousers; Juetta gets her own pair of shoes. Working telephones ring in the houses of neighbors.

When noticing all these things Werner is fairly young, and I thought it was rather interesting to read how such a young child view the changed we knew took place in Germany before WW2. The Depression left a huge mark on Germany and children were bound to notice in their own way, thus changes for the better would stand out to a child and the natural way Doerr is able to express this through Werner and his thoughts lifts this novel up even another notch for me. Another thing that gave my inner history geek a boost was how Doerr portrays Werner’s education towards becoming an expert with radios and their equipment. The mentality behind Werner’s training was particularly interesting to me and even though this is a historical fiction novel I have a feeling that Doerr has done a lot of research to create the descriptions he has throughout the entire novel. I state this without having looked into it.

Now, the characters. I absolutely LOVE the way Marie-Laure see the world around her and how it is expressed in the story! Although she is blind we get the chance to join her on her daily struggles that her lacking eyesight offer. Luckily she has a father who is willing to go to any length to make her life more easy and enjoyable. Her whole creature is so incredible and touching, her attitude is just astounding, and the way she views the world is able to change the way people around her view the world as well. I won’t say more about that at this moment. Werner is also a very interesting character, both in body and mind, and I really enjoy following his personal growth and thoughts as he passes through different periods in his life. The time period makes the development of both our personal characters even more interesting, at least to me, and I feel that it is so well portrayed in the book that you can’t help growing close to these two main characters.

All the Light We Cannot See is the kind of novel that will get you out of any reading slump! It’s rumoured that Netflix is going to take on the movie adaption of this novel and I can’t wait to see the results! I really loved this novel and I will recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, World War 2, and greatly composed novels in general. There is so much to enjoy with this story that you will lose yourself in the pages and not want to come out until you’ve closed the book a final time. Like I said, this book has made it to my favourite shelf on Goodreads and yeah. I’ll run out of words before I’ve finished praising this novel! Read it. Love it. Thank Mr Doerr for this absolute masterpiece!

Published: 2014

Genre: Historical fiction

Theme: World War 2, family

– The Book Reader

34006942. sy475

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