Donnerstag, 12. November 2015

[Review] All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr

Publisher: Scribner
Price: € 7,85
Page count: 530
Language: English


Werner is living in an orphanage together with his sister, Jutta after they lost their father in the mines. He wants to avoid being sent into the mines himself by all means so he applies to Schulpforta, one of the schools set up solely for Hitler´s purposes. His talent, understanding and building radios, brings him away from Germany to track the resistance.

Marie-Laure has to leave Paris together with her father when the German army occupy it. They flee to her great-uncle´s home in Saint-Malo, but the Nazis followed shortly after that. But she doesn´t want to stay passive.

And in Saint-Malo her and Werner´s paths finally cross which changes both of their lives irrevocably change.

My opinion

I wanted to read this book ever since it came out and I had really high expectations as I love historical books set in the two world wars, especially the second one. My expectations were not disappointed, I loved that this book did not take place at the front but followed a German boy and a French girl. One is fighting the resistance and the latter is helping them, Werner and Marie-Laure. 

I really liked them and connected with both of them but I didn´t feel emotional about their destinies. I think this was caused by the sober writing style of Anthony Doerr, he rarely wrote about feelings, only about what the characters saw. Events and consequences, without any emotional reactions from Werner, Marie-Laure or any other character. 

The chapters were really short in this one and the narration jumped back and forth in time which was quite confusing sometimes. I think also the short chapters were responsible for my feeling kind of detached from what was happening as the narrator only stays with one character for a page or two. I could not build any kind of relationship with the persons during such a short period of time. 

 But actually all my criticism is on a very high level. I really enjoyed reading this book and getting a whole new perspective on the war. Other novels are either written about just Germany and the Holocaust or about the events in France with a lot of hate on Germany included in those books. Never both together and with that much empathy for both sides. I have the feeling that the majority of books written from the perspective of the allies describe the Germans as one grey mass of evil and inhumanity. There are no distinctions made between individuals, either someone was a Nazi, a victim or he was fighting against the monsters. 
Doerr managed to break with these patterns and this is what I loved most about this book. Also the description of a life away from fighting, in France which is occupied by German soldiers was something different. 

The ending is bittersweet and mostly sad but I think it fits very well with this story. 


I can really recommend this books to anyone who likes reading books about World War II, it is a very enjoyable and also impressing read even though it does have weaknesses!


Keine Kommentare:

Kommentar veröffentlichen