Author : Anthony Doerr
Publisher : Scribner (Audio by Simon and
Narrator : Zach Appelman
Genre : Historical Fiction, War Fiction
Synopsis : WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighbourhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.
Words cannot describe how much I enjoyed this magnificent piece of work. The characters, an unfit for war little boy who misses his best friend and sister and is forced to doing things he doesn’t want and a blind girl who misses her papa and is probably the bravest of the lot. A tumorous commander who is hunting for a legend. The characters, the placement, the writing. Magnificent.
The author, in spite of using tiny short sentences manages to make the one little sentence feel detailed and lively. And seamlessly switches between characters, time, space and emotions. It is intelligently done and the hard work isn’t seen at all. What I mean is, some books are good enough for you to see the authors hard work, some books are so good that they seem effortless, like second nature.
Now, I know that this review won’t be read by most people because this book is after all a Pulitzer prize winner (among others) BUT…. if you are like me and hate war films and war books and even war stories told by people to you, please don’t assume the same about this book. It is beautifully done.
Some people might consider the de-horrifying of the war to be distasteful but I am not one of those people. Life is bad enough, I don’t want hell in a book. I enjoyed the, for lack of a better word, normalised version of it as opposed to the bloody, pulpy, putrid, mass murderous versions that most books give.
A word for the Narrator. The accents seem to flow from his tongue like there’s no actual work involved and here i am trying to learn German for a year and still mispronouncing every single word and managing to spit when i actually want to stress on some syllable. GOD. Amazing narrator. Listen to the audiobook if you have the chance.
Have you read this book?