Saturday, 8 July 2017
All the Light We Cannot See ~ Anthony Doerr
In truth, their meeting is crucial: if it goes badly, it'd spell curtains for future peace. Luckily it is a success. Is not this the most hopeful of moments? Doesn't it foretell the inception of the European Union years later? That France and Germany can be such forgiving neighbours in 2017 - after twice facing each other down the barrel of a gun - still surprises me, yet in Doerr's book, it all seems possible. There are incredibly brutal acts perpetrated on both sides, and this book contains some of the most horrific I have ever read. The suffering of German women on the arrival of the Russian troops, as described by Doerr, will haunt me forever. He shirks from nothing - presenting us with the horror of war - experienced on all sides - because these stories must be told.
But this is just a story after all - and Doerr is a master teller of tales. Page upon page of vibrant imagery, beautiful language and characters so real that they must have lived once... make this book one that will keep you just where Doerr wants you, while he re-programmes your mind and shines a light on the truth about WWII. And it suddenly seems to me that Marie-Laure's is not the only blindness at the heart of this novel. And if there is light - the light the we cannot see - well perhaps now is the time to face that light, that kindness, that hope... because after all... 1945 was such a long time ago.