All the light we cannot see

All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr (Scribner, 2014)

I read this current New York Times bestseller during my rather rainy vacation in Vermont. The novel has a very European flavor, taking place in France and Germany during World War II. It offers the unique perspective of adolescents, one on each side of the war. Marie-Laure, who happens to be blind, is French, and has to leave Paris with her father when the German occupy it and move to a town on the coast (which is also eventually occupied). Werner is a German orphan who is very good with electrical equipment (particularly radios). He is drafted into the Hitler Youth and then into the German army. Their separate stories run parallel until near the end of the book, when they meet. Overall it is a rather sad novel, with a lot of cruelty, death and destruction, but that’s how wars are. Anthony Doerr narrates the story of Marie-Laure and Werner in such an evocative way that you feel it represents the stories of many thousands of young adults during that terrible war.

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