At dusk they pour from the sky. They blow across the ramparts, turn cartwheels over rooftops, flutter into the ravines between houses. Entire streets swirl with them, flashing white against the cobbles.
All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Despite the many awards and accolades, I don’t know that I would have read this book if it hadn’t been on the Book Club list. Blind girl and young German soldier meet in WWII, nothing automatically compelling in this boiled down description. (But isn’t it completely unfair to reduce any story down to so little?) What I’m trying to say is that I am grateful to Book Club for encouraging me to read this because I enjoyed it immensely.
The story that is told and the structure of how it is told are both mesmerizing.
I have a sense that Mr. Doerr’s characters came to life for him and told him how their story ended. As I read the final page there were parts I wanted to change, just a few minor revisions so this character or that character had a different outcome. But life doesn’t work that way, bad/sad things happen to decent people who don’t deserve those endings. I think it is a testament to writing skill that it feels as though the author didn’t give himself permission to rewrite his characters’ story so that all the good guys had happy endings, he wrote it the way it happened. Or the way it would have happened if these people had existed outside of his imagination.
This is the book we will be discussing Sunday and I’m so looking forward to it!