From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. 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, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.
This is probably the best book I have read so far this year. It managed to pull my heartstrings in a way that few books managed to do, and I ended up relishing every page of it.
It painted a somber picture of the gruesome reality that is war. A picture that stayed in my mind for a long time even after I finished the last page of the book.
The writing was beautiful.
To be honest, I did not particularly connect with the characters. However, I was so engrossed in the story that I did not really feel the need to. I personally preferred reading Werner’s perspective to Marie-Laure’s though I sympathized with the latter more. I somehow couldn’t feel much sympathy for Werner. I felt that it took him way too long to come to terms with the brutality of what he was a part of. However, I did really enjoy reading about his interest in science and in fixing instruments, and how it ultimately led to his downfall.
I really enjoyed this book, and I’m looking forward to reading more historical fiction.(which I have not read a lot of).