Hello! This time I’ve decided to review somewhat “younger” book, since it was published 3 years ago. Nevertheless, it won Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and I’ve read so many good things about it, so I wanted to see for myself-what’s hiding behind those wonderful covers.
I wasn’t disappointed at all. All The Light We Cannot See is a beautiful story about not so beautiful thing-war. The book follows lives of two seemingly unconnected characters, Marie-Laure LeBlanc and Werner Pfennig. They are living in completely different worlds, Marie-Laure is from France, Paris, where she lives with her dad. Although she lost her sight at the age of 6, her dad is always there, making that defect easier for her to handle. Her entire world is now turned into a wooden scale-model he made for her. Also, the museum where her father works-Museum of Natural History-became an important part of her life, for she spends most of her days there, meeting all sorts of interesting things, mostly shells, snails, but also a story about a mystic blue diamond-Sea of Flames.
On the other side, Werner is an orphan living in Germany, Zollverein. He and his sister, Jutta, seem to be more intelligent and smarter than other kids in Children’s Home where they live. Especially Werner, who is very interested in radios, so one day, when they find an old one behind Home they live in, Werner manages to repair it, so they are able to listen programs from all over the world. Among them, a broadcast from France hosted by an older gentleman who speaks about the world of science in a very interesting and beautiful way.
“What do we call visible light? We call it color. But the electromagnetic spectrum runs to zero in one direction and infinity in the other, so really, children, mathematically, all of light is invisible.”
So, how could these two separate worlds possibly meet? The answer is, unfortunately, war. During Nazis’ invasion in France in 1940, Marie-Laure is forced to leave Paris and settle in her great-uncle’s house in Saint-Malo. Meanwhile, Werner is accepted in Nazis’ school, where he is optimistic in the beginning, but as the time goes by, he became more and more aware that he doesn’t belong there. He is not like them. But, he also meets Frederick, who shares his opinion, but only he’s more aware of what is going on in there.
“Your problem, Werner,” says Frederick, “is that you still believe you own your life.”
And, that friendship Werner will always remember. But, shortly after Frederick left the school, Werner is sent to war. With couple of other soldiers, he is travelling across the Europe, but only feeling worse, for all the violence he saw, and more that is yet to come, made him so sick and he realized that he’s at the point of no coming back. The ghosts will haunt him forever. He often remembers his sister’s words.
“Is it right,” Jutta says, “to do something only because everyone else is doing it?”
On his way, he arrives to Saint-Malo, along with other soldiers, looking for the radio that is broadcasting forbidden information. And since Marie-Laure’s grand-uncle Etienne is helping the Resistance with that exact radio, they are really endangered. But, what does Werner do when he finds out about that? Nothing. Because he recognized the melody from his past. The only thing left of his childhood.
Throughout the book, there is a story about before mentioned Sea of Flames. But, is it real, and does it really have the power everybody claim it does? And what happened with it in the end? I’ll leave that to you. I think I’ve said enough.
The book seems huge, and at some moments it was hard to read because it really is very descriptive. But I didn’t mind. It has a greater message, that I always like to see in books-the needlessness and foolishness of the war. By revealing both sides of it, I think Doerr proved that in that endless game, no one is ever winning. And motif of light is ever present. Light we see, light in our brain, light that Marie-Laure sees, that invisible light. It’s a beautiful story indeed. And for the end, my favorite quote.
If you’re considering reading this, if you ask me, you should definitely do it. If you’ve alread read it, leave a comment. Also, this is how this book looks in B&H! (I took the photo, yes, although my hands froze haha). Love you ❤ -S