Thinking Aloud: “All the Light We Cannot See”

Sept. 12, 2014 by Darius 

I recently read one of my favorite books of the year: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  Go and put a hold on it now at your local library, then come back and read the rest of the post.

All the Light We Cannot See follows two different lives in the years leading up to and including World War II.  The first is Marie-Laure, the daughter of the locksmith of the Museum of Natural History in Paris, who has been blind since age six.  As the Nazis invade France, Marie-Laure and her father flee Paris to the seaside town of Saint-Malo, carrying what may be the most valuable gem in France.  The second thread Doerr weaves in is that of Werner, a German orphan whose passion for radios earns him a place in an elite school for the Hitler Youth.  The tides of World War II eventually sweep Werner and Marie-Laure together in an unforgettable story.

As good as the plot of All the Light We Cannot See is, the reason it is one of my favorite books this year is because of Doerr’s simply amazing writing abilities.  The sensory detail in every page is nothing short of astounding, and Doerr conveys so much to the reader, from the path of electrons through a radio to the convolutions of a murex shell.  Doerr does a masterful job of allowing the reader to experience blindness secondhand, as well as the emotions of a life full of dangers, joys, and sorrows.

All the Light We Cannot See is five hundred pages long, but I’m willing to bet you’ll be sorely tempted to do what I did and read it all in one day.  Seriously.  Read this book.  You won’t regret it.

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