My wife and I were at looking at books to fill our library, and while reading cheesy lists (e.g. "best of the decade"), we decided to order a batch of them.
One of them, was "All The Light We Cannot See" from Anthony Doerr and it has a Pulitzer from 2015.
This book happens during the II World War and reminded me of my childhood and how it is living in small cities. Of how simple life was, and what is it like to go back to a world where technology did not influence our social interactions.
It tells us a story from Marie-Laure, a girl who became blind at the age of 6. His father is the locksmith from the Natural History Museum in Paris. The moment she becomes blind is heart-breaking, and after that, her father starts building a small-size replica of their neighbourhood, so she could learn every street and how many steps were between places.
On the other side in Germany, there's Werner. Werner is a kid with endless curiosity who lives in an orphanage with his sister Jutta. He loves breaking and re-assembling radios. In his childhood, he founds out his passion for any kind of noise he can hear from this device, and especially radio shows from a mysterious French guy.
I was particularly captured by the many themes in this book:
- The "magic" from transmitting sound from one remote place to the other, and the weird feeling to listen to a complete stranger.
- The vast and endless sea and how it reduces humanity in its entirety.
- The power of believing you can become whatever you want.
- Unconditional love.
Things start to get really interesting when, without even noticing it, Marie-Laure and Werner plots start to entangle. At around 50% of the book, you realize the end is going to be sad, and you start going through a downward slope of emotions.
Some people complain about how many details the author adds to every situation. For example, you can very much know all the influences the main characters are experiencing, since the book has this recurrent resource to bring back dialogues from past characters. I personally liked it, and it's one of the reasons I would go back and re-read it.