“Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.
In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.” (GoodReads)
What I thought
I recently have been on a bit of a World War I kick. Right before I devoured this book I had finished seminal The Guns of August by the amazing historian Barbara Tuchman and was wanting a fictional account of The Great War that wasn’t the same story I had read before. I was recommended this book by a friend and what a great recc!
This book is poetic and at first I thought it would actually be hard to read – a lot of dense lovely language but it’s broken up into super short chapters, almost like micro chapters, that really help balance out my attention span. The characters are real people that have real emotions. Some of the parts are grotesque and horrible and others are the true height of the human soul. The good and the bad – the high and the low – the weirdly lovely and oddly engaging.
It’s beautiful to read, the story is rich, engaging, a little weird and engrossing. I highly suggest you read this. This is the best book of 2014 for me.
“But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don’t you do the same?” ― Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See
“Time is a slippery thing: lose hold of it once, and its string might sail out of your hands forever.” ― Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See