All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Doerr writes an imaginatively constructed historical story in the most creative and captivating way possible. I didn’t even know writing could be so good. Imagine the most beautiful painting you’ve ever seen, whatever painting style you like, but colorful, full of intentional, demanding brushstrokes speaking volumes about its content. There are full figured three-dimensional characters so intricately designed they must have been real. His use of imagery is the best I’ve seen without a doubt. His typewriter must actually be a paintbrush. He somehow manages to squeeze more figurative language onto one page than most writers can do in an entire chapter. And it works. It flows, it sings of what I suppose World War II really looked like. He writes of imagery with intensity, and one of his main characters is BLIND! He writes for his reader.
Simply put, it’s a book about war. I thought I might get tired of reading about war since I just finished The Book Thief and Slaughterhouse-Five, but Doerr’s take on the subject of war was unique and thoughtful. The first 20 pages caught me off-guard because it was so much more sophisticated than what I’ve been reading recently, but I did end up falling in love with it pretty early in (probably around page 50).
I remember thinking, “He really gets it.” He understands how dividing war is, how dehumanizing World War II was. He doesn’t force casualties down our throats; he allows us to see beautiful minds and intellect, gorgeous cities, exciting technological advances, and then the nature of the beast that is so perfectly destructive in such a personal way.
I was immeasurably happy with every one of Doerr’s choices until I got close to the end. I didn’t expect to feel 100% joy from the book (it is a war story after all), but I did experience a large heaping of sadness at a few points that made me angry. This anger wasn’t directed toward Doerr; it just had to do with how much I loved the people he had created…how alive his characters were to me.
His brilliant references to what exactly light is struck me deep.
Perfection. 5/5 stars.
“The brain is locked in total darkness, of course, children, says the voice. It floats in a clear liquid inside the skull, never in the light. And yet the world it constructs in the mind is full of light. It brims with color and movement. So how, children, does the brain, which lives without a spark of light, build for us a world full of light?”
Goodreads Rating: 4.28
Recommended for: Light Chasers, History Buffs, Lovers of Figurative Language
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