Whatcha reading? All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

You know how I like the adolescent point of view. In All the Light We Cannot See Anthony Doerr juxtaposes the stories of blind, inquisitive, French Marie-Laure and orphaned, analytical, German Werner at the time of the second world war; you know that they will intersect. This should feel forced and predetermined, but somehow it doesn't. Part of it is the beauty of Doerr's language, poetic yet intricately accurate at the same time. Another part of it is the intimacy of each story, the way that each young person yearns and grows and mourns what s/he cannot have right before our eyes, as a person we know well enough to touch and fear for almost immediately. The last part must simply be magic.

I have read and seen seemingly a million stories of the wars of this world, and some of them have stayed with me, and others pass away as soon as I am on to the next book or movie. A few that have embedded shards of themselves in me include: The Things They Carried, The Kite Runner, Atonement, The Remains of the Day, Life if Beautiful, The Madonnas of Leningrad, Graham Greene, John Le CarrĂ©, and The Invisible Bridge. That is not to say that others weren't better overall, because some were, but flashes of those crop up vividly for me in other contexts, some for many years now. The image of Marie-Laure touching the edges of the model houses of her neighborhood—which her father has painstakingly built for her so she can learn to navigate on her own—as the bombs fall or of Werner making the first connection in his first primitive radio and hearing a voice in a far-away land speaking of science's wonders as the Hitler youth movement rises may well join those flashes.

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