All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Scribner (ebook), 2014
I was given a free copy by NetGalley in exchange for a review.
Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighbourhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane.
When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.
In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance.
Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.
At dusk they pour from the sky.
I’ve wanted to read the book for ages. I love the title and the front cover. The novel is set in Paris, my favourite city in the world. How could I resist?
I absolutely adored All the Light We Cannot See. I thought the characters were great. Marie-Laure was my favourite character. I’ve never read about a character whose blind before so I really enjoyed the way Doerr brings her and her father to life. The setting is perfect. Paris and Germany towards the end of World War II are brought vividly to life. I could hear, taste and smell everything. I don’t often read historical fiction and this wonderful novel is just the type of historical fiction I love getting lost in for hours. I had to force myself to stop reading and get some sleep. I loved everything about All the Light We Cannot See. I cried at the end though because Marie-Laure never gets to see her father again. All the Light We Cannot See is one of those novels that burrows into your heart and refuses to let go. Unmissable.