When I saw that ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ was available for request on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance and, then, when my request was approved, I was so excited that I pretty much shouted in delight. Written by Anthony Doerr, this book contains a story so thought-provoking and moving that it will remain in your hearts for a long time afterwards.
‘All the Light We Cannot See’ is a remarkable novel that follows the lives of two people – Werner and Marie-Laure as the second world war rips away their childhood, forcing them to live lives so different from each other, and yet similar as well. It also adds a soft fantastical element to it with the Sea of Flames – a diamond that is believed to bring an immortal, cursed life to whoever possesses it.
I thought this book was a beautiful creation. The prose is lyrical – bringing you into the story while also making you appreciate the way it is written in such a subtle manner that you don’t even realise what it’s doing. Both the two main characters were eloquently written, especially Marie-Laure whose blindness only adds to the story telling – you get such a richer sense of the world when it is described in sensations rather than sight.
The only issue I had with this book was the ending – it came too soon and, while it captured the end of the various stories in a manner that was respectful, rounded and realistic, I did find myself hoping for a happy ending all around. Some things which I had spent the novel hoping for, never happened, and thinking about it now stills bring tears to my eyes. As well as this, the entire ending section seemed a bit out of place in relation to the rest of the novel. This is mostly due to the change in time which makes the characters, and world, so different to how you knew them, that it almost felt like it was a different story altogether.
Still, regardless of the ending, I loved this book. It tells of two children, forced to grow up too quickly on different sides of an ugly war and it really makes you feel for their journeys. It is a book that I would recommend to anyone and will certainly be buying a physical copy for myself when I can. Especially since it is a book that I will be thinking about for a long time.