All the Light We Cannot See

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As much as I liked this book, I got nauseated by the yanking yin-yanging of the ending, the way that all of today’s crop of novels seem to hummingbird hover over the end point but seesaw back and forth, coating layers of frill and fuss and loose end tying. That said, it was otherwise a quickly digested read, although not sure worthy of Pulitzer Prize. The story follows a German boy who’s a whiz with radios and engineering and a blind French girl whose father builds locks for the Parisian Natural History museum, all during the lead up to and daily muck of WW2. Like all tidily told stories, these two disparate threads weave together both at the end and also much earlier, when Werner listens to Marie-Laure’s grandfather broadcasting from the French coast on a radio he assembled in the orphanage. Naturally, there’s a MacGuffin involved, a precious diamond sent from the Nat History museum under the care of Marie’s father, with three fakes also headed out into the world. A greedy yet deathly ill Nazi is desperate to find it, and Marie broadcasts a signal reading from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with gasps of “he’s downstairs, he’s going to kill me” that eventually get Werner trotting up to her doorstep for the rescue. Short punchy chapters (lots less than a page long) round out this painfully modern story.