Anthony Doerr has written a wonderful story set in horrible situations during World War II in his new book, “All the Light We Cannot See.’’ With a blind French girl, an orphaned German boy, and a cursed jewel thrown in, the book is truly memorable and moving.
The characters are introduced in a brief first section dated “7 August 1944.” The city of Saint Malo is being destroyed by bombs. Both protagonists are trapped: Marie-Laure in her great-uncle’s home and Werner in the hotel the German army commandeered.
The second section of the book moves back to 1934 to begin the tale of how these two ended up in Saint Malo. By jumping back and forth in time from the ‘30s to ‘40s, the book keeps the suspense growing.
Within each section, the author rotates chapters between the French story and the German one, moving it forward to the 1944 bombings.
Living in Paris, Marie-Laure is blind by age 6. Her father built her a miniature model of the city so she could learn to navigate it by herself. The principal locksmith for the Museum of Natural History, her father arranges an official tour for Marie-Laure. There she hears the story of the diamond called the Sea of Flames.
As big as a pigeon’s egg and blue with a scarlet center, the jewel was supposedly cursed by the Goddess of the Earth so that anyone who keeps the gem will see his loved ones suffer unending misfortunes. According to rumors, the Sea of Flames is hidden under the strictest security, deep within the museum...