All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – read for my sixth form’s Book Club
I read this quickly. Considering it’s such a big book, that’s a definite achievement. However, the thing about this book is that the chapters are wonderfully short. I had this pointed out to me before I actually read the book, and it made it a lot easier to read.
Another good thing was the characters, and the setting. Okay, that’s two things, but one comes with the other. We have Marie-Laure, a young blind French girl living with her aging great-uncle in Saint-Malo, at the tail end of the Second World War. We also have Werner, an really pretty damn clever orphan living in Hitler’s Third Reich.
I loved the link between Werner and Marie-Laure, it worked really well considering the historical context of the story. It’s an interesting concept, overall – the way that the perspective switches along with changes of time period.
Although it was an interesting concept, it did confuse me at times, as is often the case with stories with so many different threads of informations. I’m not always the most attentive reader, if I’m honest, and it’s easy for me to search for the parts I really enjoy over all the finicky details.
With that in mind, though, I did prefer Werner’s narrative over Marie-Laure’s. By a large amount. It wasn’t that she was a less interesting character – I think the way that her blindness was portrayed was amazing, and she had a lot of defining features to her other than ‘that girl that’s blind’.
One of the guys from my book club did raise an interesting point, though. It’s pretty obvious that Anthony Doerr really, really wanted the Pulitzer Prize. It’s prize fishing literature, in other words. I did notice this myself, but I didn’t pick up on it a great deal until this guy validated it.
I won’t lie though, the author writes amazingly. Just… I can’t really describe it. It’s almost like a poem, in some ways. Like a really descriptive poem. In a good way. It read like verse, but verse that wasn’t explicitly a poem…?
I don’t know, honestly, don’t get me to describe things. Otherwise it’ll just turn into a shitshow from start to finish. Take my word for it – he’s an ace writer.
Overall – this was an amazing story, but I preferred some of it to other parts. I gave it 5 stars, though, because I just think it deserves that, and I was hooked throughout all of the narrative.