Author - Anthony Doerr
Page Count - 530
First Published - 2014
The story is told from multiple points of view, but mainly the two characters Marie-Laure and Werner, with some other character filling in major plot points. The story is set in the second world war when the Nazi troops invaded Paris. Marie-Laure is a young girl of twelve when the invasion hits and is forced to flee with her father to Saint-Malo where her Uncle lives. There are elements that make this even harder than imaginable. Firstly Marie-Laure has been blind since the age of six, turning her neighborhood into a maze. Secondly her father has been tasked with carrying an artifact from the Museum of Natural History where he works. His mission is to keep it safe, only he does not know if it is real or fake.
Werner is a German orphan, his father died working in the local mine. He lives with his sister Jutta at a orphanage awaiting the age of sixteen when he will be put to work in the same mine that took his fathers life, he finds the idea suffocating. Werner is a smart and inquisitive child, he finds a broken radio and fixes it, this is without a doubt the catalyst for his whole life. He joins the Hitler youth, which is his only chance of becoming a scientist and becomes a radio expert in the German army.
From reading the blurb I really wanted to get stuck in and see how these characters lives where interwoven when they lived so far apart. This was my favourite aspect of the story, finding out all the little bits of information that linking them together without their knowing until they finally meet in Saint-Malo.
The book although based in history is very much fictional, only using the events of the war as a back drop for the story to unfold. The story is more about the horrors of war from the general public's point of view, this includes people on both sides of the war and how first perceptions of a character based on their origin can be totally wrong, being a German during the war does not make you a bad person.
I found this book hard to read at times due the the amount of German/French words thrown in but it did not detract from the reading experience. The book is really well written and very descriptive, enhanced by the personal view of the world for Marie-Laure. I felt the book slowed in pace towards the middle and then everything happened in the last few chapters tying up as many loose ends as possible. I felt the time line in the book was confusing, it jumps around a lot, the starting chapter actually happens right towards the end of the story. Overall I really enjoyed the story as there where many layers to what was happening, which kept the story interesting even at it's slowest points.
Thanks for reading, I'm looking forward to finding out what next months pick is, if you want to take part check out the fore mentioned blogs for the newest book choice. If you would like to read last months review you can find it here.
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