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Location: Brooklyn, NY, United States

16 November 2016

All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is a World War II story from two different perspectives.

Marie-Laure LeBlanc is a young girl in Paris. Her father works at the Museum of Natural History. He is in charge of the keys - to all cabinets, rooms and safes. Marie-Laure is blind. She was not born blind, her eyesight slowly went away. Her father has helped her find her way around, including creating an exact model of the neighborhood she can explore with her fingers.

Werner Pfenning is a German orphan. He and his sister, Jutta, live in an orphanage in a coal mining town. Werner loves math and radios. He and his sister love to listen to a man speaking in French and teaching about science. Werner takes radios apart and fixes them - to the extend that people start hiring him to fix theirs. The Nazi leader of the town discovers this and has him sent to school to develop this skill.

The story is told in the current time and in flash back chapter of both characters. Both end up on the island town of Saint Malo on the coast of France near the end of the war. Marie-Laure at her uncle's house and Werner in the radio division that hunt for illegal transmitters.

Doerr has created a beautiful and heart-breaking book. After all of the novels set in WWII, this is a different approach. Both characters are wonderful and caught up in something too large to escape. Buy this book!

Doerr, Anthony. (2014). All the Light We Cannot See. New York: Scribner.

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