All The Light We Cannot See
Audio narrated by Zach Appelman
This may be my favorite book of 2015. Anthony Doerr writes with such beauty.
Marie-Laure lives in Paris with only her father. At six she becomes completely blind. Her father, the locksmith of the Museum of Natural History in Paris, painstakingly builds her a model of Paris. It is so detailed in its design that Marie-Laure can touch each piece and learn her way around the city. She spends her days with her father at the museum and she knows her way around the entire building. She counts the steps, she smells the trees, the bakery, the air, and she listens to the birds, the bees, the steps on the streets.
Werner Pfennig is an orphan in Germany. He and his sister Jutta live at Children’s House. In their ventures around their city they come across a broken radio. Werner fixes the radio and quickly gains the reputation of a repairman in the neighborhood. As he spends more time, it becomes clear that Werner is a very bright boy. And the Nazis take notice. He is chosen to attend the school of the Hitler Youth.
As this story moves from one time period to the next and then back again, you start to see that the stories of Marie-Laure and Werner are bound to converge. This audio version was so enthralling to listen to. It was beautifully narrated by Zach Appleman. I loved hearing the German and French words pronounced correctly. I know I would not have done so in my head if I had read the print version. The author writes such beautiful prose, almost like looking at a painting. That being said, so much of this story was very hard to listen to. It is an upsetting story. There were times I had to shut off the player and walk away. The devastation and the sacrifices that the French and the German people made in 1941 – 1944 are overwhelming. Every time I read stories set in Europe during WWII I wonder, if I had been there, would I have survived? Would I have been able to endure?
And yet, people did endure. They did survive, to continue with their lives. Forever changed by those awful years, they were able to go on, raise families and be prosperous members of their communities.
Until next time
Stay Busy and Stay Happy