Friday, 11 March 2016

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Reviewer: Liza Perrat, author of Spirit of Lost Angels, Wolfsangel and Blood Rose Angel

What we thought: Set in both Germany and France before and during WWII, this brilliant literary masterpiece moves back and forth in time, switching points of view amongst several finely-spun characters with whom we identify and empathise. Through beautifully flowing prose, the author paints pictures of light, and dark, and everything in between.

It is an amazing story of determination and love from both sides of WW2 and Occupied France. The author weaves historical fact––The German Occupation of France and the secret radio broadcasts of the French resistance––with the fictive story of a cursed diamond, into a rich and compelling story, deftly guiding the reader toward the day when gifted German boy, Werner, and blind French girl, Marie-Laure meet during the bombing of Saint-Malo.

Right from the first page, each small part of the story puzzle fits together as deftly as the miniature models Marie-Laure’s father constructs to help his daughter navigate the streets of Paris and Saint-Malo. And culminates in an unpredictable outcome as the final plot piece slots into place to uncover the hidden treasure.

Heartbreaking but ultimately uplifting, this portrayal of the light we don’t, or cannot see, is nothing short of dazzling; a novel to inhabit, to learn from and to mourn once it’s finished.

You’ll like this if you enjoyed: literary works such as The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings.

Avoid if you don’t like: character-driven, descriptive drama that doesn’t necessarily end happily ever after.

Ideal accompaniments: glass of smoky Bordeaux red wine, a portion of pigeon pie and a comfortable armchair (you won’t be moving for a while).

Genre: Historical Literary Fiction

Available from Amazon

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