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Words of a Bibliophile

"It's only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away." —Bee Gees

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr

I expected to like this as much as I liked The Book Thief, but I didn't. The writing was good, but the novel moved rather slowly and had a sense of quiet detachment to it. Instead of really getting absorbed into the story I was held back into being a distant observer, maybe because Werner himself felt detached in his powerlessness over the things that happened around him. But the ending left me with tender feelings for him.


Somehow I was mildly surprised when he died, although I guess it was not very realistic for both Werner and Marie-Laure to survive. By the end I was much like Frank Volkheimer, awed by Werner's talent and wondering what he could be if he'd only lived in another time, a more peaceful time for him to thrive to his fullest potential.

(show spoiler)

The novel uses several symbols and motifs, like the way the radio and its broadcasts for children represent knowledge and science in its purest form, untainted by politics or war. What I'm not so sure about is what the precious jewel from the museum is supposed to symbolize, either hope or greed or something else, but I didn't feel it had that much of an impact in the story except to provide an additional element of danger.