You have probably seen the cover of this book everywhere. It was all over Pinterest for more than a minute and was named one of The New York Times’ 10 Best Books of 2014.
A couple weeks ago we wrote on The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and how that story of two sisters kept us crying for days as we flew through the pages.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr should be the next book you read.
The story follows orphan Werner as he studies at a school for the Hilter Youth, and Marie-Laure, a blind girl being raised by her father.
It jumps back and forth in time, so that readers learn how these characters came to find themselves in the disaster that is France in 1944.
Doerr does such an incredible job of building suspense in this novel. It is almost like watching an incredibly tense Law and Order: SVU episode. It is exciting and terrifying and will make you want to keep reading for hours.
The book is broken up into very small chapters, so the book feels incredibly digestible. This is wonderful except for the fact that the book is so good, you will keep telling yourself “I will only read one more chapter” until you fall asleep on top of it.
Between The Nightingale and All the Light We Cannot See, there seems to be an interest in stories that feature World War II. Both of these fairly new books focus on Nazi-occupied France. While the realities of this time in history are hard to properly conceptualize because they are so awful, it is so important to continue to revisit these times of extreme hate and fear.
We are in the midst of election season and there is some scary stuff going on. Some horrible things are being said about whole groups of people. And, instead of there being national backlash against such horrible racism, this hate is being rewarded with winning state primaries and being on the road to receive a national party nomination.
Read stories like this. Empathize with the characters. Sink into the story.
And recognize that retreating back into such a dark place in history happens gradually. It happens by blaming an ethnicity for a nation’s problems. It happens by promising to make a country great and terrifying again. It happens by spewing hate.
Be brave and read stories of the darkness that can happen when too many people lose sight of the light.