I’m starting to realize that, though I’ve always enjoyed historical fiction set around World War II, I’m finding it a little tiresome. It seems to be the same sort of story over and over. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr wasn’t quite the same story.
It follows a boy and a girl as they grow up through the pre-war years. Werner, a German boy, is looking for a way out of the mining village he’s grown up in. His escape comes through a government school, training him to be a soldier. But Werner finds himself obeying, or staying silent, in the face of things he doesn’t necessarily agree with.
Marie-Laurie is a young French girl who flees Paris with her father and takes up residence in Saint-Malo. What she doesn’t realize is that, when they flee, her father is charged with an important mission.
As the war progresses, Werner and Marie-Laurie’s stories start to converge during the siege of Saint-Malo. But when things erupt, families and lives are destroyed.
This book was well written, moving quickly and making it very easy to follow each storyline. However, I just didn’t find the story as compelling as I thought it would be (though, when something is so acclaimed, it’s to be expected). The stories didn’t converge until the end, and when they did, it was in a very cliche way. I knew how it would end from the very start (and not just because of the flash forward that starts the story and continues throughout).
In short, it’s a good, quick historical fiction read, but it’s not what I’d call a profound read.