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Book Review of All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See
perryfran avatar reviewed on + 1172 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2


This novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2015; in my opinion, a very well-deserved award. This was a very poignant story which focuses on two young people coming of age prior to and during World War II. The first is Marie-Laure, a French girl who lost her sight at age six. Her father worked as a locksmith in the Paris Museum of Natural History and was able to create very detailed models of their home and the surrounding streets of Paris to help Marie learn to navigate the city. The second is Werner, an orphan who lives with his sister Jutta in a Children's home in a mining city in Germany. Werner and his sister are enchanted by a radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they can hardly imagine. Werner becomes expert in repairing and building radios which is later an asset to the Germans in tracking down members of the resistance during the war.

The novel is told in short chapters which alternate between Marie's and Werner's stories. The novel begins with the Allied bombing of Saint-Malo, a walled city on France's coast where Marie and Werner finally come together. The story then delves into the past of each character with Marie and her father having to flee Paris when the Germans invade and end up in Saint-Malo at Marie's uncle's residence. Meanwhile, Werner has been selected to attend a very harsh military school where his skills at radios and electronics are honed and put to use by the Germans.

The story is very haunting and heart breaking with both Marie and Werner losing many people they loved along the way. I was really captivated by this one and was sorry to see it end. A very high overall recommendation.