Sunday, January 29, 2023

All the Light We Cannot See Anthony Doerr - OPTIONAL

All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr
, 530 pages. Scribner. 2014. $19

Language: R 18 swears 4 'f'); Mature Content: PG-13;  Violence: R (Mentioned rape, violent and descriptive killing, undescribed action but detailed accounts of the effects)



Two main characters, the story spans from the time they are 6yo and 8yo to when they are 16yo and 18yo Marie-Laure La Blanc is six when she completely loses her sight, but this handicap has never made her feel inferior. With her father at her side, the world makes sense. It is a conquerable landscape of drainage gutters, cursed stones in museums, and Captain Nemo. When she is twelve, the Germans occupy Paris, and she and her father flee, ending up in a small town, in a tall house by the sea. In Germany, Werner Pfennig and his sister tinker with and old radio that brings stories of a world beyond the bleak future their mining town proffers. Becoming an expert in this new and exciting world of radios, Werner will enlist in the rising war to track town the resistance. Both Werner and Marie-Laure's paths briefly cross in the seaside village of Saint-Malo, and kindness, it seems, will find its ways of bridging radio waves, warring countries, and lost sight.

I am still reeling from this book. Doerr has put the war-time world into words, and his novel is more than something to read but a world to experience. He awesomely has illustrated the dichotomies of the world: the horrifying brutalities of war, the graceful beauties of kindness; the terror and sadness of inevitability, and the optimistic hope of opportunity. This was one of the heaviest books I have ever read, and I'm sure I will not be rereading it anytime soon, but I do know that it will stay with me for a long, long time. As this is a war story, there are terrible acts of brutality and cruel violence brought by the necessity of the time, and the language in it reflects that from time to time. Werner is an albino German. Marie-Laure's uncle, Etienne, suffers from post-traumatic stress from the first World War.

Sierra Finlinson

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