November 19, 2015

October - All The Light We Cannot See

Just three of us were able to get together in October but all of us had read the book and enjoyed it. We were all surprised about what a fast read it is at 530 pages. Lisa had read that Anthony Doerr had intentionally written the book to have a lot of "white space" to help make it a best seller. Apparently publishers think readers don't want to have to work too hard. But that also made it easier to read about something of the difficult things that happened in the book.

We talked about what the light we cannot see means - the radio signal, the way  Marie-Laure is able to see so much more than those with sight can, the way Werner is blind to what is going on to him for so long, the darkness that envelops Werner when he is trapped in the basement toward the end. We talked about Werner and how he got swept up in the war machine. Lisa pointed out a couple of passages where Doerr does a good job of explaining how an orphan could easily be pulled in when he finally has a place to belong.

We all felt it was interesting to look at the war through a German's point of view and to think about the way that ordinary German's got caught up in the "cause." At our November meeting, a couple more of us were ready to talk about the book and they echoed how it was important for us to remember that not all Germans were bad guys who chose to do terrible things. Something that feels particularly important to remember with current world events.

We were all impressed with how Marie-Laure's father had prepared her to survive even before he had any notion what would happen, between teaching her Braille and building her the mockups of the cities she was in.

At the October meeting we spent a lot of time talking about what happened to Werner at the end of the book. Did he go back for the stone? Did he intentionally destroy it? Did he just take the house and the stone was left to the sea?

Over all, although it's a long book, it's a very good choice for book clubs with a lot to discuss and a lot that is relevant today.

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