A Modern Classic!
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
All the Light We Cannot See gives the reader a close-up view of World War II from the perspective of a French girl and a German boy. Twelve-year-old Marie-Laure is blind. She lives with her father in Paris, and, although her world is small - her neighborhood, the Museum of Natural History where he works, and her apartment - she has the entire world because of reading and her love of nature. Werner is an orphan, living with his sister Jutta in the Children's House in a German mining town. He is fascinated by machinery, circuits, and mathematics.
The lives of these two characters are intertwined through accident and fate throughout the novel, although these connections only become clear as the story unfolds. The suffering, deprivation, danger, and loss of the war are always present, becoming a character on their own at some points.
The story is suspenseful and engrossing, but what makes this book so special is the lyrical prose. Marie-Laure imagines the world around her with such detail that the reader can see it as if he or she were there standing beside her. Even the minor characters are so skillfully developed that they become living, breathing beings inside the covers of the book. This is the sort of story that remains with the reader long after the book is finished. Characters and scenes are so distinct and beautifully created that they stay in the mind.
This would be a wonderful novel for high school study. Charcaters are not black and white. There is a complexity to this novel that would lead to lively discussions. It brings to life the impact of World War II on common people, giving students the opportunity to view the events of the era from a new perspective. I highly, highly recommend this novel.