The Coincidental Critic

Exploring the art of storytelling.

All The Light We Cannot See: A Dark Read (SPOILERS)


All The Light We Cannot See was beautiful, but devastating.

The best part of All The Light We Cannot See was the writing.  Author Anthony Doerr gave so much shape and life to his descriptions.  He used powerful verbs.  Everything he described had a specific look, sound, smell, taste, and feel.  His descriptions perfectly captured emotions, bringing so much meaning to each line.  Every aspect of his story came to life.  Here are a few examples of some of my favorite quotes:

“A piano chases the violins.  Then woodwinds.  The strings sprint, woodwinds fluttering behind.  More instruments join in.  Flutes?  Harps?  The song races, seems to loop back over itself.”

“And yet everything radiates tension, as it the city had been built upon the skin of a balloon and someone is inflating it toward the breaking point.”

“Hers is a low voice, full of pebbles–a sailor’s voice or a smoker’s.”

“Seconds later, she’s eating wedges of wet sunlight.”

“…the whole house turning scarlet in her mind, roof turning to smoke, flames chewing through walls.”

“The Pyrenees gleam.  A pitted moon stands on their crests as if impaled.”

“…she is as inescapable as a moon.”

“She only wants a tide of normality to wash in and cover everything again.”

I appreciate that Doerr was subtle about the graphic scenes, such as when Werner killed von Rumpel and when Jutta was raped by the Russians.  Doerr provided minimal detail.  This allowed me to understand what was going on without making me feel uncomfortable.

All The Light We Cannot See was educational.  I learned about how the war affected German families and French families.  It was horrific for everyone.  All The Light We Cannot See made me thankful for the life I live today.

All The Light We Cannot See was interesting, but not engaging.  I liked learning about this important time in history, yet the story itself was hard to get through.  Nothing pulled me forward.  I didn’t know where Doerr was leading us.  I didn’t know what the characters’ end goals were other than to survive the horrific situation.  The characters just seemed trapped, which made me feel hopeless.

All The Light We Cannot See did not have a linear timeline.  The plot jumped all over the place.  I did not understand why Doerr decided to do this.  I don’t think it provided anything significant to the book other than suspense.  But this made the earlier (in time) storylines less interesting because I already knew what would happen to the characters.

All The Light We Cannot See made me think.  It’s an important book, but very depressing.  It wasn’t enjoyable, but that didn’t mean that it wasn’t interesting.  It was just difficult for me to find the light in the darkness.

One comment on “All The Light We Cannot See: A Dark Read (SPOILERS)

  1. Leslie
    June 5, 2016

    Kim… We have ancestors that original came from St. Mali (the Brands).
    I enjoyed your review but had a generally more positive opinion of the book.
    Keep reviewing.

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This entry was posted on June 5, 2016 by in Book and tagged , , , , , .
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