“ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE”
Fourth Estate, 2014
Winner of several awards including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2015, the bestseller by Anthony Doerr takes us into the torments of the Second World War while following two teenagers who respectively belong to the opposite camp : Marie-Laure, a French girl, blind from childhood, who fled Paris with his father to take refuge at his grand-uncle’s house, and Werner, a German boy, gifted and self-taught orphan who had to join Hitler’s armies in order to put an end to the Resistance Movement.
The paths of these two “bright” teenagers cross at Saint-Malo towards the end of the war, at the time when the bombings are destroying a large part of the city. They both experience the forces of evil and those of good, but they will allow themselves to be guided by the light of the latter.
The title of the novel refers to the question of a teacher who spoke on the radio just before the beginning of the war. His courses are followed secretly and carefully by Werner and his sister. The teacher asks himself
« So how, children, does the brain, which lives without a spark of light, build for us a world so full of light? «
The author’s skill succeeds in proving the victory of human goodness – which is precisely the said light -, in a world undergoing the hell and darkness of war.
A real coup de coeur, Anthony Doerr’s novel brings us into the middle of an age which should not be forgotten : a violent, brutish, short and unrestrained period, where the bravest ones who dare to rebel against the power in place, seem to lose the game.
But are they really losers?
Among them, a blind girl and a helpless orphan succeed in freeing themselves from the chains of their time and the a priori of their nationality to follow their conscience, their inner voice.
“Even the darkest hours can never destroy the beauty of the world“
The novel revisits this period of history without taking sides and underlines the courage of the weakest ones against the surrounding cruelty and injustice.