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All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Source: Public Library
Hardcover, 530 pgs.
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All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is a sweeping tale of World War II from the perspective of a German, Werner, and a French blind girl, Marie-Laure. Werner is a smart, young German boy who lives in an orphanage, while Marie-Laure is a young girl who goes blind and lives with her father in Paris. Both have faced some hardships, but both remain hopeful that life can be beautiful. Told from both perspectives as the war takes hold of Europe, Doerr creates a tale that is carefully woven together and tethered to the myth of the Sea of Flames, a diamond that some say is cursed and others say can provide miracles to those who possess it.

Doerr does an excellent job of not only creating characters on both sides of the war with compelling stories, but also ensuring that there is a light of hope in each story to keep readers going. While the subject of WWII has become fodder for a number of novelists, very few will tell the story from the perspective of a young man swept up into the military because he dreams of a better life and learning that he cannot get in the orphanage. Readers will see a well crafted novel full of dynamic characters and symbolism, but they also will see that men and women on both sides of the war are not that different from each other and that the politics of the time is what drove the violence and indecency.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr won the Pulitzer Prize and for good reason. It’s a must read for those who love historical fiction and are looking for a detailed take on lives on both sides of the war.

RATING: Quatrain

If you missed our read-a-long in March at War Through the Generations, check it out.

Readalong:

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6

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  • I read about half-way and then stopped, only because I had some difficulty with the bullying scenes. I picked it up again because I just need to see how it all turns out!

  • Ti Reed

    My book club read this one. It was a good discussion. And you know me and war books and how we typically do not get along? Well, this one was pretty good.

    • I know! This is a second war book you’ve read. This one was a good pick since it’s not too focused on the war…sort of.

  • bermudaonion(Kathy)

    My book club is scheduled to read this before the year is out. It sounds like it was a good choice!

  • Anna (Diary of an Eccentric)

    I loved this book and thought it was perfect for the readalong. I haven’t yet put my thoughts into words for a review, but I still remember the story vividly.