All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr

I will admit that I usually stay away from WWII stories. At some point the horror of it all just got overwhelming and I wondered what good it does to keep putting more pictures about that time into my head. But then, Genna recommended the Guernsey Literary and Sweet Potato Peel Pie Society and it was so charming and life-affirming. Add that everyone, everywhere, it seems, has been talking about Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See and that In the same week my request for this title came in at the library, a copy arrived in the mail from a friend who sometimes just sends me a book out of the blue, and I felt like the universe was saying, “It’s time to read this book!” In the end, I listened to it. I listen to a lot of audio books, but I will say that this one is very well done. Sometimes drastic time shifts can be confusing in an audio book, but this one, where the story makes great jumps forward and backward in time, flowed well owing to the author’s ability to offer a place-holder to show us when we are where, and make it all come together. This is the kind of grand love story that takes your breath away because 1) it’s not just about two people in love, but about the love that swirls all around us all the time, even if we don’t know it, and 2) because all along you can see that the lives of the two main characters are meant to come together. But when they do, there is no collision, only a slipping past each other, the physical weight of the meeting like a feather in an avalanche. It is perfect. It is the ripples we make. It is how we change each other only by being who we are. A stunningly beautiful book bringing humanity and reason into a time when both of those things seemed in imminently short supply. Read it. Listen to it. Talk about it. This book will stick around.