All the Light We Cannot See

Another European war novel, by Anthony Doerr

It has fascinating plot certainly. I need to be careful not to give any spoilers. Let’s just say it is set in World War II, and half the book is set in Germany and half in France. It’s a coming-of-age tale for a girl in France and a boy in Germany, both of whom have lives utterly transformed by the horror of war. It’s very gripping. I read it in 2 very hot summer days (when I preferred my air-conditioned living room to being outdoors).

It is a wonderful novel in many ways, but I’d rate it an A-. It reads like a novel the author was so deeply involved in that he couldn’t stop writing. Maybe Doerr has a family history from Germany? In any case I feel this book is over-written. Many of the characters are fantastic. I came to love them, but they were not very believable. The paragraphs are strewn with meandering metaphors, and lots of dream-sequence asides. All this sounds beautiful. It is, but someone should tell Doerr that less is more.

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