Standalone Sunday is a weekly feature created by Megan at Bookslayer Reads which aims to showcase standalone books which you loved or would recommend.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighbourhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.
Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).
Before picking up All the Light We Cannot See the only other book I’d read set during World War II was The Book Thief. If you’ve read The Book Thief then you know how moving, how amazing, how beautifully written the book is, and you can probably also guess how I wondered whether All the Light We Cannot See could live up to all that. It more than did. This book tells the story of Marie-Laure and Werner, both children standing on different sides of the war and both who have a heartbreaking story that needs to be told.
“The bony figure of Death rides the streets below, stopping his mount now and then to peer into windows. Horns of fire on his head and smoke leaking from his nostrils and, in his skeletal hands, a list newly charged with addresses. Gazing first at the crew of officers unloading from their limousines into the chateau.
Then at the flowing rooms of the perfumer Claude Levitte.
Then at the dark tall house of Etienne LeBlanc.
Pass us by, Horseman. Pass this house by.”
You can check out my review for All the Light We Cannot See here.
What did you think of All the Light We Cannot See? Have you read it yet or is it still on your to-read list? Let me know in the comments and let me know if you took part in this week’s Standalone Sunday as well.