A stunningly ambitious and beautifully written novel, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is the story of Marie Laure, a girl living in Paris in the late 1930s who at the ages of six goes blind, forcing her, and though a series of beautifully intricate descriptions, the reader, to experience the world through touch, sound, and memory. It is also the story of Werner, an orphan living in Germany who becomes enchanted with a crude radio he finds. Becoming a master radio operator, he is eventually drawn into the German military where he is sent to occupied Paris to track the resistance. As the Second World War rages around them, the girl who cannot see and the boy who is forced to listen discover each other, and through each other love and hope, as they try to survive the horrors of war.
I thoroughly loved Doerr’s exquisite descriptions in which the drone of bombers, the smell of the sea, and the memory of a street become a world in which morally complex yet innately good characters can discovery hope, even in the middle of a world war. From page one I fell in love with the Marie and Werner, characters who will keep readers turning the pages hoping for an impossibly happy ending. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is fantastic novel that I can’t recommend enough!