All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Published 2014 by Scribner. 530 pages.
If you’re friends with me on Goodreads (and if you’re not feel free to add me) you might have noticed I read this book in two days. I didn’t, really. It was a Christmas present from my mom and I started it on Christmas. So, nine days. For a 530 page novel, I’m pretty proud of that. I didn’t add it to my Goodreads because firstly, I forgot, and then I figured I might as well wait so I can add it to my 2016 reading challenge (28 books, by the way).
An answer to a question: is this book as good as people say it is? Pulitzer prize good? Yes. To be fair, however, I knew barely anything about this novel before I read it. Besides the fact that it came highly recommended by my mom, consoeur of World War II literature. It is a cautious goal of mine to read more newly published books, but I have a dedication to reviewing older ones as well. Simply because I’m well aware that not everyone out there can get through all the hottest new books. But back to the novel at hand–
Anthony Doerr is a very beautiful writer, so much so that I can’t believe I’ve never heard of anything else he’s written. He is also a very brilliant man who knows a good deal about the world from the way he writes it. There is quite a bit of science involved in the novel, between the radios, architecture, sea creatures, and Jules Verne. It is all effortless, however. Everything fits into the narrative elegantly as to put science fiction authors to shame. In fact, the narrative itself couldn’t exist without the science.
It reads like a fairytale but does not behave like one.
The novel is filled is stories; a novel built off of storytelling itself. But Doerr maintains a dedication to reality. Bad things happen, as things must in war. Both Werner and Marie-Laure, the lives of whom the narrative follows, are remarkable characters and remarkable people. There’s nothing to say about them not included on the flaps that wouldn’t spoil the stories. But they are people– they act and feel like people and sometimes they aren’t brave. But sometimes they are.
To leave you with two quotes:
“But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don’t you do the same?”
“All your life you wait, and then it finally comes, and are you ready?”