Why didn’t someone tell me that poetry dances off the pages of this novel? Doerr has written a novel that makes it difficult for the reader to pick up another book; we know it will be a long time until another one mesmerizes us in the same way. What will I read now? I know I have found another favorite.
Although Doerr uses a familiar format to stage his narratives, he causes us to forget the typical formula by bringing us into the lives of the orphan boy and the blind girl. We fall in love with the genius orphan boy who becomes a reluctant Nazi soldier. We worry for the blind Parisian girl, though we shouldn’t, and wake after a long night of reading inspired by her courage and sharp mind in times of personal and international crisis. Normally, the story of a boy from the ‘wrong side’ merging with the tale of a girl on the ‘right side’ would be a sweet, heartwarming story. This is not your normal opposing views narrative, though it does give the reader new, sympathetic perspectives on those who unwilling served the Third Reich.
Readers of historical fiction, especially those fascinated with the events of WWII, will breathe in the imagery and delight themselves in the details from this time period. However, those who must have a happy ending will physically ache for days after finishing All the Light We Cannot See. This novel is pure poetry for lovers of language, and lines from its pages will linger on your lips long after the final page.