Tuesday, October 07, 2014


All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr, Scribner, 2014, 530 pp

I was a satisfied reader throughout this novel. Yet another World War II story set in yet another location, or actually several, but the main one being the walled French city of Saint-Malo. I did not know this city existed prior to reading the novel. It is a place that just begs to have novels set there.

The best war novels for me are the ones set away from the main battles that show the effects of war on various everyday people. Here we have a master of locks at the Natural Museum of History in Paris, his daughter Marie Laure who went blind at the age of six, a reclusive great-uncle who is skilled at radio operation, and the orphan Werner from a German mining town, also skilled with radios.

The novel tells the back stories of these characters, then the story of how their lives converge during the war, and finally a satisfying final section where we find what happened to Marie-Laure and Werner after the war. Did I mention there is a rare and priceless diamond whose mystery is the true engine powering the novel?

It is all put together with the most excellent literary but accessible sentences. Absolutely nothing to complain about and I truly don't understand how anyone could not love this novel, but of course some don't.

(All The Light We Cannot See is available in hardcover on the shelf at Once Upon A Time Bookstore and in ebook by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)

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