Book Review

May '14

All The Light We Cannot See (Hardcover)
Anthony Doerr

I was so sorry when this book was over.  Beautifully written, very real and likeable characters, historic fiction at it's best, set during WWII.

The author brings the reader fully into several story lines, which intertwine and overlap, while writing about the war through the character's eyes.

Main character Marie-Laure lives with her father, a skilled locksmith for the Paris Museum.  Creator and holder of all the keys that secure every door and exhibit, he brings his daughter to work with him to learn from the curators.  Marie-Laure is blind, and her loving father creates intricate, scale replicas of all the buildings in the vicinity, so that she can memorize them and become more independent.

Another story line focuses on Werner and his sister Jutta, orphans living in a German children's home.  Werner, from a young age, is fascinated by the radio broadcasts he hears from abroad.  His skill with building and fixing electronics and radios (a new invention) brings him to the attention of the Nazi party, which recruits him for their elite training school.  He is encouraged to develop his skills with the radio, then ordered to locate clandestine radio transmissions after all radios were confiscated.  

Still another layer of the story involves a priceless gem (said to carry a curse) that had been housed at the Paris Museum under many locks and keys, until it, and three copies of it, vanished during the Nazi occupation of Paris.

I highly recommend this book to the intelligent reader, and book clubs that are not intimidated by the book's 530 page length.