Book Review: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

#pulitzer2015 #ww2 #booklove

The descriptions of Saint Marlo, on the tip of France, are what first drew me into this novel, but it was the journeys its main characters take which compelled me to finish it. 

It would be easy to suggest that ‘All The Light We Cannot See‘ was written to force us to confront the unpleasant truths of war and human nature, but it is also a story of hope, as hope is what makes you turn the page time and again, towards the novel’s end. 

The novel follows a collection of different characters, but the two main characters are Marie Laure and Werner. 

When first we meet her, Marie Laure is a young, blind French girl. The daughter of a locksmith, who works in one of the most important museums in Paris. Werner is a German orphan, living in a forgotten mining town. He has a talent for making and fixing radios. As World War Two moves ever closer, one will become the hunter and one the hunted, and yet strangely, both feel like victims of circumstance. Both seem to be walking a tragic path. 

This novel was bittersweet, inspiring and most of all memorable; ‘All The Light We Cannot See’ is beautifully written in lyrical prose, expressing ideas and thoughts which will haunt your mind long after Anthony Doerr’s precise wording fades from memory…

We all come into existence as a single cell, smaller than a speck of dust. Much smaller. Divide. Multiply. Add and subtract. Matter changes hands, atoms flow in and out, molecules pivot, proteins stitch together, mitochondria send out their oxidative dictates; we begin as a microscopic electrical swarm. The lungs the brain the heart. Forty weeks later, six trillion cells get crushed in the vise of our mothers birth canal and we howl. Then the world starts in on us.” 

– p.468