Length: 451 pages
Genre: Historic Fiction
Date of Publication: 6th May, 2014
Rating: 5/5 stars
I received this book as a part of my birthday book mail from the #bookdivas and I absolutely loved it. However, I could not get to reading it for about 5 months! This was one book that I knew I had to read before the year ended and I’m glad that I did.
The book has won several accolades such as Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (2015), Audie Award for Fiction (2015), ALA Alex Award (2015), Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Fiction (Runner-Up) (2015), Ohioana Book Award for Fiction (2015)Andrew Carnegie Medal for Fiction (2015), Idaho Book of the Year Award (2014), National Book Award Finalist for Fiction (2014), Goodreads Choice Award for Historical Fiction (2014) and Nominee for Best of the Best (2018), International DUBLIN Literary Award Nominee (2016)
“Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.“
The book hooked me from the very first page. The young life of Marie-Laure reminded me of a book that I read a long time ago where a grandfather trains his blind grandchild in puzzles and educates her by taking her around the museum, though I have forgotten the name of the book. (If any of you know it, please tell me!)
I loved reading both the points of view but I enjoyed Werner’s experiences and his way of looking at the world more than Marie-Laure’s. I was glad that the author did not turn her into a simpering little girl but showed that people who are sight impaired can play a pivotal role even in the times of war. I expected the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner to be interconnected much earlier in the book. Certain parts of the book seemed to be dragging on a bit too much and seemed unnecessary to the entire plot. The end left me dissatisfied. I had a higher expectation for the book but on the whole, it was an intriguing read. What really moved me was the part where Marie-Laure is haunted by her experiences when she re-visits the places of her childhood. War displaces the lives of everyone, but children have it worse than everyone else.
Anthony Doerr is the author of five books, The Shell Collector , About Grace , Memory Wall , Four Seasons in Rome and All the Light We Cannot See . Doerr’s fiction has won four O. Henry Prizes and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, and The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. He has won the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize, the Rome Prize, the Story Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Award, and the Ohioana Book Award three times. Doerr lives in Boise, Idaho. Become a fan on Facebook and stay up-to-date on his latest publications.
TL;DR: A moving story that surprises you and makes you realise that the repercussions of war reach far and wide.
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