Tuesday, January 27, 2015
All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The story involves a German orphan and his sister prior to WWII and a blind French girl and her father in a parallel time. Parallel is the key word because each chapter is a couple of pages long and bounces back and forth between the two as they age, the war begins and ends and their paths converge. A subplot, which may be the point of the story, is a jewel that may or may not be cursed. As all the parts come together, the tension should mount, but it is lessened by moving back and forth in time. That time shifting gives a clue as to who lives and dies, at least to a point, and for me took away from the story. It was not difficult to understand where in time the characters were, it was just mostly unnecessary and a contrivance instead of asset to the story.
That said, the author did an excellent job in portraying each character, no matter how slight their role and the writing is beautiful. I liked all the characters I was supposed to like and the story was good. As is the case with many of the books in this blog, Jackie read it before I did. When I asked how she liked it prior to me reading it, she said "I want to see what you think about it." We came away with the same conclusion. Given the accolades, we expected a bit more. Very good book, just left us a bit flat. If you want to read a more riveting look at occupied France, look at "Suite Francaise" by Irene Nemirovsky which was blogged about years back.