Title: All The Light We Cannot See
Rating: 5/5 stars
First off, I have to thank the wonderful Jenna for constantly recommending this book at every opportunity. I don’t think I would have picked up this historical on my own – and would have missed out on the gorgeous story that lies within. If you’re wondering whether All The Light We Cannot See is the book for you, I have a handy list to help you find out below!
“But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don’t you do the same?”
1. You Appreciate Beautiful Imagery & Lyrical Writing
Anthony Doerr is quite the wordsmith, he turns every sentence in this book into poetry. Yet, the writing remains light and approachable, never veering into purple prose territory. Whether we’re witnessing Marie-Laure experience the natural world in the absence of sight, or glimpsing at Werner’s captivation with the mystery of technology – the writing wraps us in with vivid imageries.
I have been feeling very clearheaded lately and what I want to write about today is the sea. It contains so many colors. Silver at dawn, green at noon, dark blue in the evening. Sometimes it looks almost red. Or it will turn the color of old coins.
As the story follows three different narrators, we saw the writing style employed to illustrate a multitude of landscapes. We see the streets of Paris before it’s touched by the war. We see the stark landscape of countryside Germany. We see the glittering landscape of St-Malo. Then we see how little by little, war strips away the beauty of these places. All the while, the writing remains unchanging and fluid. Yet, distinguishing between the different narrative remains an easy task as we explore the character’s motivations and line of thought.
There are some instances when I thought the beauty of the proses made it difficult to experience the horrors of warfare – but it’s a minor niggle. Overall, I know I’ll be looking to read more of Doerr’s work so I can experience his lovely proses once more!
2. You Love A Story You Can Reread!
“Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.”
As book bloggers, it’s hard to find books I can honestly say I will reread again – especially when the TBR pile stacks up and there are SO MANY reviews to write *totally not freaking out about 2016 releases, honest*. AHEM. But! I can say I will return to All The Light You Cannot See at some point, as I think it’s a book that would improve upon rereading. Although Marie-Laure and Werner remains separate for the majority of the story, their storyline are intricately linked through intangible and serendipitous connections. There are parallels, both symbolically and literally, in their personal journey that I would love to re-experience.
The book also moves alone a non-linear trajectory, constantly switching between the protagonists’ childhood and the last leg of the war. While it was never confusing, part of me wants to go back and reread now that I have the timeline straight! Of course, I also want to reread the beautiful writing as discussed above.
3. You Love Elements of Fairy Tales in All Your Fiction
“That something so small could be so beautiful. Worth so much. Only the strongest people can turn away from feelings like that.”
I don’t know about you, but I love seeing the structure of fairy tales incorportated into adult or modern fiction. The current boom in fairy tale retelling satisfies most of my needs, but I love when a story employs these age-old symbolism in a more subtle manner.
From the beginning, we are told of a myth featuring a precious diamond which has doomed kingdoms and princes. Other elements of folk tale appears, including an unrepentant villain, riddles, and more secret keys than you could shake a stick at. They add an almost magical layer to this haunting story. All the while, we are reminded that life does not always resolve with the neat, happy endings of fairy tale.
4. You Love Characters Who Have Passion
Most of the protagonists in All The Light We Cannot See have something they are passionate about – whether it’s Marie-Laure’s love for nature and books, or Werner’s obsession with radios. I liked the stark contrast they present against usual protagonist, who are swept into a plot and lose their identity in the process. Their hobbies and how their thought processes are influenced by it make them feel more real. It makes the plights they face throughout the novel all the more challenging to read.
I am so happy to end my 2015 with such a fantastic read! Have you read this book? Are you a fan of WWII fiction?
Also, happy new year everyone! I hope 2016 hold many exciting adventures for us all – both in the pages and out of them ❤