Thursday, June 18, 2015

Book Review: All the light we cannot see.

A few months ago, we were at my knit night book club and trying to decide on our next book. Anthony Doerr's 'All the Light We Cannot See' came up as a suggestion, and although we did not pick this book, when I found it on 2 for 20 at the airport in Vancouver a while later, I picked up a copy.

I just finished reading this book on Monday night and I have to tell you, not only is it a page turner, it's a beautiful book.

Doerr takes us back to Nazi occupied France and shows us the live of two young people during the war. Marie-Laure, a blind girl from Paris, who's father is the locksmith for the Natural History Museum, and growing up exploring there has given her a wonder for the world despite her blindness.

With the Nazi's on their way into France, Marie-Laure's father escapes the away from Paris to go live with his recluse uncle in the Breton town of Saint-Marlo by the sea.

Meanwhile in a mining town in Germany, the exquisitely white-blonde haired, blue eyed Werner is growing up with his younger sister in an orphanage run by a French speaking nun. Werner is a boy who is always asking questions, and when he finds a broken radio in the trash and fixes it his path is set. Soon he becomes the go-to boy in town for fixing electrical appliances and radios. A talent which is so remarked upon that it earns him a place in a prestigious academy for the Hitler Youth, and finally into the war against his will.

Throw in a Diamond cursed with the power to keep the owner alive forever at the cost of the lives of those around you, and a crazed Nazi gem collector and you've got all you need for an intriguing tale.

  “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.” 
I enjoyed this book from page one through to the end. Marie-Laure and Werner are characters to fall in love with. However, it was the character in Marie-Laure's great uncle Etienne that really captured my heart, in him and in 'the Professor' you have someone who is so committed to sharing science and understanding about our world with anyone who is tuning in, that they are willing to risk anything.

So this summer, grab a copy of All the Light we Cannot See, and I promise you won't be able to put it down.

“A line comes back to Marie-Laure from Jules Verne: Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth.”