All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

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Although this story is about war, and all the sadness and destruction that goes with that, it has a really beautiful fairy tale quality to it as well.

A blind young girl grows up with her father in Paris. He is the locksmith at a museum, and he builds her a complete model of the city, so that she can learn to navigate around and he independant. Their relationship is very beautiful and strong, and is part fo the heart of the story. But their world starts to crumble when the Germans invade and WW2 shatters their lives. They flee to the isle of Saint Malo, where they have family they can stay with, but they might just carry something special with them, something the Nazi party would do anything to get.

Juxtaposed with this story is that of a boy who lives in an orphanage in Germany with his little sister. Their lives are decided for them, with no hope of escaping from the awful blackness of being drafted into the mines, but with war breaking out, the boys skills with radios and electronics might just save him from that fate. But will the path before him destroy his heart and soul?

It’s a book about the small lives lived under the fascist regime, and the endurance of the people who are just trying to live. It’s also about family, and the quirks and vulnerabilities of them. I think the characters in this are what drives you to keep turning pages, as the two plots intertwine. I also loved the aspect of the characters all finding solace in the natural world, in books and in science. The leading characters are all people who read, who love nature or are fascinated by the science of things, and perhaps that curiosity is what saves them from despair.

A beautiful story and well told, it’s a best seller for a reason.

Read It If: you like your fairy tales a little dark, with the back drop of war. Beautiful.

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