Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Likely Stories - All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Earlier this year I read Anthony Doerr's novel All the Light We Cannot See. I had a copy of it for years and now, I wish I had read it sooner.

This is a historical fiction epic centered around three characters during the Second World War. One of them is Marie-Laure, a young French girl who is totally blind hiding with her uncle, Etienne, in the fortified city of Saint-Malo during the German occupation of France. She is a lover of braille books, an even bigger lover of music, and what she lacks in physical ability, she makes up for in

imagination, and wonder for life. Simultaneously, the novel also follows the story young of Werner Pfennig, a German boy who grows up in an orphanage with his little sister, Jutta. Werner has an impressive knack for technology, and quickly finds himself training in a military compound to become a radio operator during his teen years. Meanwhile, Reinhold von Rumpel, a Nazi officer, is in hot pursuit of an incredibly valuable diamond known as the Sea of Flames, which is said to allow whoever possesses the diamond eternal life, at the cost of a gruesome death for all of the possessor's loved ones.

Although All the Light We Cannot See is only Doerr's second work of fiction, I felt it truly shows how much of a refined, and dare I say genius, artist that he is. The to say the least writing is incredible. Doerr is creative with his use of words, often toying with the definition of those words in a somewhat experimental way.

His style is incredibly sensual in that it engages practically all of the senses of the reader, which is an artistic choice to reflect Marie-Laure's blindness and how she must use all of her other senses to navigate the world. For example, if a character were to walk into a room, the novel would not only describe its dimensions and contents, but also the texture of the walls, the smell of the room, the way footsteps echo off the walls, and very particular and unique details, such as a specific arrangement of seashells on the windowsill, or perhaps a pair of shoes next to the door that are not quite perfectly aligned.

These aspects do make for a rather slow novel, however. At about 530 pages, the very detailed writing style may also cause you to slow down and consume the book at a slower pace than you usually would, which forces you to truly feel and experience everything in the book's environment, as well as all that is in the mind of the characters. I personally enjoy slow-paced works, because they allow me to fully digest and feel everything that is happening.

All this to say, All the Light We Cannot See is without a doubt one of my favorite books of all time, and one which I am certain will become a classic for centuries to come.

Until next time, fellow readers... stay safe, and happy page-turning.

Likely Stories - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
John Hopkins Hospital... Medical Revolution...and Henrietta Lacks...are words that will ring in your mind for endless days after reading "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot.
Likely Stories - Black Cake
I've read many novels that have one or two well developed main characters, while all other characters seem more one dimensional, supporting cast types. But the novel Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson couldn't be more opposite of this.
Likely Stories - This Side of Paradise
Even though knowing better, Gia Chevis is a sucker for "before you die" lists. She has found one read that doesn't make the cut for her.
Likely Stories - Babel
I’m an easy mark for campus novels. I recently discovered Rebecca Kuang, known for her Poppy War trilogy and satire, Yellowface. Kuang also wrote Babel, a novel uniting magical realism and social critique
Likely Stories - The Wrong End of the Telescope by Rabih Alameddine
This past year, I’ve read plenty of books and stories, some of them normal, some of them extraordinary. Today, I want to discuss the most extraordinary book about normal people that I’ve read this past year.
Likely Stories - Ugly: The Aesthetics of Everything by Stephen Bayley
If you have been to the mountains recently and had the opportunity to soak in the alpine forests, the placid lakes, the beautiful leaves, and the pristine snow, then you may have the fourteenth-century Italian poet Petrarch to thank.
Likely Stories - Life In Five Senses by Gretchen Rubin
The five senses...what do you think of when I say that phrase? As an educator I think about teaching younger students what the senses are, and examples of them. But beyond that- do we really give them much thought?
Likely Stories - Reef Road by Deborah Goodrich Royce
The beginning of this slow burn crime fiction is a doozy. During the beginning days of the pandemic, beaches in Florida were closed to the public, but two boys sneak out to surf near Reef Road, when they spot a hand that has washed up to shore.
The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore
Hello, my name is Shenequa Williams with this week's edition of Likely Stories. I am a Reading Interventionist teacher in Waco I.S.D. at G.W. Carver Middle School.I recently read a book called Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore, and could not stop turning the pages. This beautiful debut novel is a story of heartbreak, guilt, hope, and courage.
Likely Stories - The Sweet Remnants of Summer by Alexander McCall
I am a big reader. Recently, I've been reading Alexander McCall Smith's Sunday Philosophy Club Series. The latest installment, The Sweet Remnants of Summer, offers an intelligent and emotionally sensitive exploration of the light-hearted and profound.