Monday, November 6, 2017

All the Light We Cannot See (Anthony Doerr)

A few weeks ago, a fellow blogger wrote an article about those books that you feel that you SHOULD HAVE liked but it didn't turn out that way. Anthony Doerr's immensely popular, Pulitzer Prize winning All the Light We Cannot See is unfortunately one of those novels for me.

It certainly started off strong, with alternating timelines and short chapters introducing us to the memorable characters. Marie Laure is a blind girl living in Paris with her father. He wants to teach her to be self sufficient, and so builds a model of her neighborhood so she can get to know every feature. When the Germans arrive for occupation during World War II, Marie Laure and her father escape to Saint-Malo but not before taking something very valuable with them. In Germany, Werner lives in an orphanage with his sister. His propensity for fixing radios makes him attractive to the Hitler Youth, and it's obvious to the reader that eventually his path will cross with Marie Laure's.

Doerr's writing is lyrical and beautiful, and I wish I could say that the book kept my interest after the beginning. We know that the characters will meet towards the end, but I found it a tedious journey to get to that point. I simply couldn't get through more than one or two chapters every few days. While the ending was interesting and illuminating, I couldn't help but feel a sense of relief that it was over. But reading other reviews, my opinion is definitely in the minority.