Friday, 7 August 2015

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Marie-Laure LeBlanc, the daughter of a locksmith, has been blind since the age of six. Her father builds a perfect miniature of their Paris neighbourhood so she can learn to navigate her way home. But when the Nazis invade, father and daughter flee carrying a dangerous secret.

Werner Pfennig is a German orphan, destined to labour in the same mine where his father died. But then he finds and repairs a broken radio and suddenly life blazes with possibility. His talents win him a place at an elite military academy, but can he pursue his dream whatever the cost?

Hundreds of miles away in a walled city by the sea, an old man listens to a long-lost voice and discovers new worlds without ever setting foot outside his home. And yet impending danger will not allow him to remain shut in for ever.

This book is set in Europe during a time when war dominated everything. It is a wonderful demonstration of how lives can coincide in the most unexpected of ways.

I was completely gripped by this very excellent novel from start to finish. The prose was beautiful and not a word was wasted. Every sentence had real meaning and I frequently found myself re-reading sentences and paragraphs simply for the beauty of how they were constructed on the page.

The atmosphere was tangible and I felt as though I was actually there, living the lives of these two young people who were forced to grow up in war torn Europe. Consequently, I felt very in touch with Marie-Laure and Werner and writing this book so that the reader could identify with both the German and French point of view lifts this book well out of the ordinary.

There is something very special about this novel and I highly recommend it. This is the first book that I have read by Anthony Doerr and I guarantee that it will not be the last. I only wonder why I have not read anything by this excellent author before.

About the Author:

Anthony Doerr is the best-selling and prize winning author of The Shell Collector, About Grace, Four Seasons in Rome and Memory Wall.

In 2007 Granta named him as one of their 21 Best Young American Novelists and in 2011 he won the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Prize. Doerr lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two sons.