In All the Light We Cannot See we witness World War II from both sides in a way that I never imagined. The beautiful, lyrical words bring us to the edge of our endurance, all the pain off loss, the hunger and hurt. You weep for these children- so many of which have no idea what they do; brainwashed into thinking their way is right or living in terror of the other.
Meet Marie- Laure, the blind little girl who loved her father and great-uncle so much. Beautiful, sweet, intelligent and brave Marie. Life is never easy, but she moves always forward and finds her center. Through the war she is reading Jules Verne, learning the sea with the fingertips and helping to incite revolt.
Meet Warner, a young German boy from a coal town. So very, very smart, and good with electronics. He can, and does, fix anything in town. All he wants is to not go down that mine where his father died. He and his sister Jutta live in an orphanage there, and he catches the attention of an army official. Against all Jutta’s protests he goes to school- becomes part of the army. He promises himself it is just to learn, to better himself the only way he can. He is placed on assignment to use his skills to track resistance.
So many times I have heard Warner’s pain and his shame. All he ever wanted to do was create, and he made something that cost lives. He pines for Jutta, the sister that would never understand his reasoning- even he can’t anymore. For Frederick, the only pure sole in his school that cared about doing right. Volkheimer, the giant that saw so much in him, and had such gentleness… yet could kill on command. It’s a different world. You want to say you would be different, it could never happen now… but would we be Frederick or Warner? Jutta or Volkheimer?
I tried to go slowly, but I inhaled this novel. I couldn’t put it down. There was so much beauty and pain, and yet so much light at the end of night as well. The ebb and flow of the story left me mesmerized as it flew swiftly between times and enemy lines. I am so glad I read it.
This book is out, I absolutely recommend it!
Due to all the different forms of violence I must give this book a seven on the Adult Content Scale.
Link to book: