All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

All The Light We Cannot See, Pulitzer Prize Winner, raving reviews, I’m not sure what I can add. Everything that can be said about this book, had probably been said. BUT I’m going to add my two cents worth anyway.

I bought this book as a Christmas gift for a travelling friend (seriously, what do you get people who move about?) but wanted to read it badly myself. The solution was simple and killed two birds with one stone: buy a copy each, one for me and one for her. We would read it together, a book club for two. No matter where we are, we have something to connect us. Once finished we can discuss our thoughts. Then start all over again with a new book. An extra thoughtful gift and bam! I have a great excuse to purchase the book I coveted.

I half-heartedly attempted to start reading this book a few times and failed miserably. I found the short chapters at the beginning difficult to follow and hard to get into. I understand the authors intention was to build the connecting base of the story and set the scene but perhaps due to not really paying full attention at the beginning or even the guilt of starting it to early (I was meant to be waiting for my friend) I found it difficult to get into at first. That was until I had a whole day to sit down and get absorbed into the plot and boy, did I get sucked in.

I loved the unusual characters of the book. Marie-Laure, her father and Etienne and their relationships were a highlight. I’ve not read a book with perspective from a blind character and I found it interesting reading the story from Marie-Laure’s point of view. I never get tired of reading stories that are thought provoking and in particular with regards to morality. Werner was a great character for this. I can’t imagine what it would have been like in Germany during World War II. Knowing that your country was following a terrible path and upheld such horrific ideals and being expected to conform and carry them out. All the while having your reservations but to speak out, to refuse would have terrible consequences for you and your family. That moral struggle is fascinating and I enjoyed Werner’s evolving realisation that what was going on was not good or right.

The short chapters and switches in perspective flowed beautifully and Doerr wrote a truly captivating story that I look forward to re-reading in the future. Truly deserving of the high praise and Pulitzer Prize I give All The Light We Cannot See five keys to the sea.



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