This is the best historical fiction that I've read in recent years, and I will read it again for its beautiful and compelling imagery and captivating prose. Anthony Doerr writes about the lives of a French girl, Marie-Laure and a German boy, Werner - mostly set during World War II, with glimpses of the "before and after" of this period. It's a feast for the senses in some of the wondrous descriptions - especially the tastes, smells, sounds and touch experienced by the blind Marie-Laure. This vividly contrasts with the sometimes cruel, horrific and confronting life experienced by the resourceful and mechanically clever Werner in Nazi Germany and other surrounding countries.
My instincts had told me that these two main characters would somehow connect, but it was in a way that was totally unexpected. There are many underlying stories interwoven:- the journeys of Marie-Laure's beloved Papa and his uncle Etienne; the mysterious diamond, "The Sea of Flames"; Werner's sister, Jutta; the "giant" soldier, Volkheimer; Werner's gentle friend, Frederick; and the relentlessly obsessive Von Rumpel. "All the Light We Cannot See" is a story about good, evil, courage, survival, hope for the future, and unexpected connections. Many images stayed with me long after the story ended. Five stars is not enough for this engrossing classic.