My desire to read literature that creates a strong sense of place led me to Anthony Doerr’s “All the Light We Cannot See” (2014). It is a story about the intersection of two lives: a German Army soldier, and a blind, adolescent French girl who is trying to survive World War II. I think it would be a compelling read even if it didn’t contain two prominent literary themes that are favorites of mine: the human condition on display in the midst of war; and the interconnectedness between people which affirms (at least to me) that the “randomness” we observe in the universe often proves that the universe is not so random.
Mr. Doerr has made a strong case to become my favorite contemporary writer. His sentences are simple and powerful. His short, efficient chapters are each like a dip of the spoon into a rich soup. Each spoonful contains something flavorful from his characters’ inner world. Each chapter makes me want to keep reading the next one. I’m only about 40% through this story and already, it is clear to me that Anthony Doerr is a master craftsman.