I took a bit of a break from reading after I graduated last year and slowly but surely I’ve been beginning to enjoy reading for fun again. This year I’ve read some absolutely incredible books, including A Gathering Light and The Light Between Oceans, which were both so good that I resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn't read anything else worthy of rivalling them this year. But I have. I started and finished reading ‘All The Light We Cannot See’ by Anthony Doerr in just three days and it immediately shot itself up to my top five all-time favourite books.
2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, National Book Award Finalist, New York Times Bestseller and Winner of the Carnegie Medal for Fiction – all awards and accolades that Anthony Doerr can boast of for his novel, ‘All The Light We Cannot See’.
And upon picking up the novel for yourself, you will find it easy to understand why it has been rated so highly.
‘Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.’
War books aren’t typically my go-to but ‘All The Light We Cannot See’ is far from a conventional war story. Set during WW2, the narrative is split between the present day and flashbacks but its fairly easy to follow as the story focuses largely on just two characters – a young blind French girl and a German boy.
Marie-Laure is a young blind girl living with her father in Paris. Werner is a German orphan who finds himself attending a facility for Hitler youth. Their stories slowly but skilfully draw nearer and nearer one another, until they finally intercept, in a refreshing and unexpected way.
‘All The Light We Cannot See’ has its flaws but it is an emotionally enthralling tale nonetheless, focused on two individual children who find themselves trapped in the terror of a war that they neither understand nor had any part in causing. And so you can’t help but get drawn in. Marie and Werner are well-rounded characters that will take you along with them as they try to navigate a world governed by war, and you’ll quickly find yourself experiencing the very same emotional rollercoaster that they themselves are undergoing.
Doerr’s writing style is equally as captivating as the story he is telling. Simple, yet still poetic in places, it draws you in and doesn’t let you go until you’ve reached the final page. And at just over 400 pages long, that’s no mean feat.
‘All The Light We Cannot See’ is more than a tale about war, it’s a story about knowing right from wrong, about loving and caring for others even when it would be natural to only want to look out for yourself and it will teach you about the importance of friendship, and family, in hard times.
It’s a book that I know I will return to time after time, and it’s easy to see why, some four years after it was initially published, 'All The Light We Cannot See' is still as popular as ever.
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