All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
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All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (audiobook edition) is set in Germany and France. The story spans from1934-2014. Marie Laure LeBlanc’s father works as the principal locksmith in the museum. It is at the age of 6 years that she learns about the priceless diamond the “Sea of Flames”. Marie loses her eyesight due to a disease. Her father builds a detailed model of the city and makes her learn the streets and other city details so that she can navigate the city and does not become homebound.
Eight-year-old Werner Pfenning grows up with her sister Jutta in a German orphanage. He is inquisitive and becomes adept at fixing old radios for which he becomes famous. He fixes the radio of a German official and is rewarded with a scholarship to a reputed school- The National Political Institute-a brutal academy for Hitler youth. When the German invasion seems inevitable, the museum sends the duplicates of the Sea of Flames in different directions, one of which is being carried by Marie and her father. Marie and her father escape and go to Saint-Malo and take refuge in the house of Marie’s great-uncle Etienne. The US Air Force invades the walled city of Saint Malo in the pursuit of the Sea of Flames. As the plot unfolds further, the lives and stories of Marie and Werner meet and the author provides a riveting climax.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is a classic New York Times Bestseller novel. The audiobook received high acclaim from the critics and it won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2015 and Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in the same year. In 2015 it also won the Ohioana Library Association Book Award for fiction. It spent 130 consecutive weeks on the New York Bestseller list.
The narrative is very compact and engaging and there is no moment of sagginess in the novel. The portrayal of the characters of Marie and Werner and their development as they grow is fascinating. The depiction of the political uncertainty and the lives of the main characters is a treat for the readers. The author makes the characters believable and realistic with whom the readers are able to form a bond. The author has come up with a beautiful novel which sketches the highs and lows of human relationships and nature.