Last autumn, as we began our monthly book review weeks, I was in the throes of several books at once and posted my thoughts based on the story so far. The following is what I felt and thought in November 2018.
Good Prevails Against All Odds inAll the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
I’m not quite halfway through this book, but already the main characters Marie Laure of France and Werner of Germany, have cemented their places in my heart. You know those characters so richly assembled, you’d swear you knew them somewhere in real life? These are those characters. Add to that turns of phrase that evoke the senses, and Doerr’s grasp of “show don’t tell” is someone to emulate in my own writing. This is one of the reasons I have yet to finish the book. Every time I read a phrase like, “the carpet sucked at his shoes”, I want to go to my own writing and try to work through verbiage as deeply as Doerr.
It’s important to note, Marie-Laure is blind, but her father is a master craftsman and creates scale models of locales for her to follow first with her fingers, then with her feet. Werner is a natural engineer, his curiosity leading him to an old busted up radio which he repairs, and learns of a world beyond his own. A girl and her father. An orphaned boy. The back cover explains; this is a story of how two people, from warring countries, try to be good to one another against all odds.
Just now, in the book, the Nazis have invaded Paris. Marie-Laure and her father have fled to SSaint-Malo to stay with a reclusive uncle. Werner, an orphan, has been drafted into the Nazi youth corps. Already, I can see this book a timeless classic and the awards that pepper its cover speak to the same.
The rest of the story….
A blind, little French girl, at twelve years old is thrust into the dangerous world of WWII with a dash of espionage. A little German boy, about the same age, discovers an old radio, learns how to repair it, and from it learns of life beyond state radio waves. But, his electronic skills catapult him into the ranks of Hitler’s Youth corp, where his desire to learn of the outside world is crushed from him as he watches what happens to friends who don’t follow the rules.
Five years into the war, their two worlds collide, in a bittersweet exchange of love and redemption. The epic tale of these two children center around a father’s love, an epic diamond, a desire to reach a long dead brother, and the dance of shadow and light.
It’s rare to come across a book that once it’s finished, you’re not sure of your own emotions. We are usually satisfied one way or the other as books come to a conclusion. But, as I read the last page and reflected on the story, I was torn and not quite sure how I felt. This is life, though. Isn’t it? Our stories end without easy answers or outcomes, but somehow, the things we need most find their way back to us.
This is one book I did not read fast and I’m so glad I took time to savor it. Ten years in the making and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, if you’re a fan of historical fiction and the realities of life in it, then this book is for you.
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As much as I’d love you to connect with me via social media – you can find all the ones I’m on in the bar to your right – I’d much prefer a review of my book currently available on Amazon, “Reflections: The Girl in the Mirror & The Letter”. Currently, it’s got one lonely review. And for less than a cup of coffee, it sure could use a friend or two or ten…. Oh, and we’re on Goodreads too!
Break a Pencil!
© Lisa Street Rogers 2018