Anthony Doerr, aged 42 and based in Ohio, has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for All the Light We Cannot See. Read below for a review of the prize-winning book by Maureen Eppen from our May 2014 issue!
All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
Through the experiences of a bright but blind French girl and an inquisitive, intellectually gifted German boy, Anthony Doerr’s latest novel illuminates one of the darkest periods of modern history. Marie-Laure LeBlanc’s father is keeper of the keys for the National Museum of Natural History in Paris. When she becomes blind at the age of six, he constructs a miniature replica of their neighbourhood to help her find her way home. As the Nazis invade, father and daughter flee toward the home of Marie-Laure’s great-uncle, in a walled city by the sea. They carry a dangerous secret, cunningly concealed and of great value to their homeland.
German orphan Werner Pfennig is destined to follow his father into the mines, until the chance discovery of a broken radio changes his future. After gaining a place in a prestigious military academy, Werner’s gift for electronics sets him before men of great power and influence, but it leads him along a path he is reluctant to travel. Alternating between the two narrative threads and including a wondrous mix of supporting characters, All the Light We Cannot See builds an almost unbearable tension, as we wonder what will happen when the two young lives inevitably intersect. The climax is devastating yet beautiful, concluding a heartwarming account of the triumph of good over evil.
4½ stars – Reviewed by Maureen Eppen