To say that I devoured this book would be a gross understatement. Recommended to me by a friend, I dove in not really knowing what to expect, and did not come up for air until I was a good 100 pages in. All the Light We Cannot See spins the tale of a blind French girl and an orphaned German boy whose paths cross against the backdrop of a shredded, World War II Europe.
Marie-Laure and her father live in Paris, where he works as the key-master at the Museum of Natural History. After losing her vision at the age of six, Marie-Laure learns how to navigate through the city by studying an intricate and exact model built for her by her father. As the Nazis begins to roll in and disrupt their quiet and happy life, father and daughter flee to coastal French city of Saint-Malo to stay with their reclusive uncle, Etienne, and his rebellious housekeeper. Despite their relocation, they are hardly safe, as Marie Laure’s father carries with him what may be the museum’s most valuable and precious stone, that is rumored to curse those who carry it.
Werner and his younger sister, Jutta, grow up in an orphanage close by to the mines that claimed their father’s life. After miraculously repairing an old radio, Werner becomes obsessed with the care and keeping of the machines. His intelligence and talent land him a spot in the vicious academy for Hitler Youth. After an early graduation, Werner’s instinct for radios earns him an assignment tracking resistant parties. The knowledge of human suffering brought about by his intelligence begins to weigh on Werner, throughout the war, until he sees Marie-Laure make her way down a street in Saint-Malo.
This book will rip your heart out only to heal it, and leaves you wanting to begin again after you’ve read the final page. Honestly, I probably would have done just that if I didn’t need to return my copy to the library!
Have you read All the Light We Cannot See? What else are you reading? Drop me a line…I could talk books ANYTIME!