Anthony Doerr believes that literary writers should “strive toward complexity, toward questions, and away from certainty, away from stereotype.” This novel, which is a page-turner, one worth getting up early to read, demonstrates that he follows his own advice. Set in France and Germany during 1934-2014, focusing mostly on WWII, it does not unfold chronologically. Its complex structure adds suspense and engagement. As the title All the Light We Cannot See indicates, things that are invisible — such as memories, spirits, loyalties, smells, radio waves, and fear — are woven into the narrative, adding depth and texture. It’s a haunting book.
Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See (New York: Scribner, 2014), p. 529.