All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr came out in May of 2014 to great acclaim. This novel was ten years in the making. The reviews were pretty much wildly favorable.
Yet, for some reason I kept putting off reading this book. Perhaps I was still recovering from Donna Tart’s brilliant, but exceedingly long novel, The Goldfinch and I wasn’t ready to pick up another 500 plus page story. I was wary that this book might be too poetic, too precious.
Thankfully, I got over all of that and once I started reading Doerr’s new novel I was completely absorbed. Yes, the structure was a bit challenging. Now and again the beautiful prose pulled me out of the story (forgivable in this case). The short chapters were addictive – just one more, so that the pages flew by.
All the Light We Cannot See is an extraordinary novel about the human face of war. The characters are faced with moral dilemmas that tear at your heart. I felt like I was living through all the horrors and the degradations of wartime, but at the same time Doerr balanced his narrative with moments of beauty and grace.
This novel is already a contender for my favorite book of this reading year.