Marie-Laure has been blind since the age of six. Her father builds a perfect miniature of their Paris neighbourhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. But when the Nazis invade, father and daughter flee with a dangerous secret.
Werner is a German orphan, destined to labour in the same mine that claimed his father’s life, until he discovers a knack for engineering. His talent wins him a place at a brutal military academy, but his way out of obscurity is built on suffering.
At the same time, far away in a walled city by the sea, an old man discovers new worlds without ever setting foot outside his home. But all around him, impending danger closes in.
I was drinking....
Sometimes Breton cider, other times a German beer ( some of which can be 12% proof!)
In my opinion..
A lot of books about the Second World war were published during 2015, and I felt there was a danger of the market becoming over saturated. This, however, was suggested by a friend & as I respect her opinion , I decided to prioritise it above others. As it turned out, I was also in the process of moving to Brittany during the course of reading it, and read the last pages just as I was sailing into St Malo harbour. Serendipity.
I am so glad I did read it. It is extremely well written, which should not be surprising given the pedigree of the author. It is very visual, and brings an appreciation of sight, through living half the story as told by a young blind girl, Marie-Laure. The frustrations of lack of sight continually made me uncomfortable and on edge, not that these were emotions articulated by her.
The flip side of the story is told by Werner, a german orphan, a life lived not by choice, by someone born in the wrong place. Overriding all is a sense of how much good there is, whichever side you are on.
I urge you to read this. It is gentle but powerful. Challenging and thought provoking.