This is the book I recommend when you ask me what you should read. This is in my top five favorite books. This is the book I would bring to the island.
When I picked it up at my local B&N, I hadn’t heard anything about Anthony Doerr’s novel. It was just one of those blessed days where I went book shopping. Those are good days, but this was an especially good trip. I even got the signed edition.
All the Light We Cannot See is the 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner following the two intertwined stories of Werner and Marie-Laurette. Werner is in Nazi-Germany, while Marie-Laurette lives in occupied France. As a reader, you follow them from childhood until adulthood, watching them love, learn, and survive perilous wartime.
Doerr constructs his book into short chapters with intense and beautiful detail. If you didn’t know anything about radios, locks, or heartbreak, you will be an expert in all of those things by the end of reading this novel. And in between the intertwining, are about half a dozen more amazing stories from all the other characters. It’s kind of a fun game to try and connect the dots to see how things are threaded together to create an intricate story.
This WWII novel took ten years to write. Given how detailed each chapter is, I’m not surprised at the kind of research necessary to help make this book what it is, a total masterpiece. It’s a book I will re-read throughout my lifetime, because it’s a book that will teach you something new about people, relationships, and war every single time you pick it up.
As a side note, I would love to listen to the audiobook because there is so much French and I know I butchered all the pronunciations in my head. Add “learn French” to my bucket list just to delve deeper into this world.
If it isn’t clear to you already, I love this book. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt so attached to fictional characters as I do to Werner and Marie-Laurette. That being said, there are some devastating moments throughout the story. So believe me when I say I bawled through the last 50 pages or so. We’re talking full on sobs, as my husband can attest to. So don’t go thinking this is an easy read. It will eat at you for days and weeks, maybe months, after reading.
So in lieu of me shouting from the rooftops to go read this book, I write to you hear. Read this book and tell me what you think.
In the meantime, I’m looking for another amazing, preferably life-changing, book. Any recommendations?