I read lot of books, and if someone asked me “What was the best book you read in 2016?” I would think long and hard, say “I don’t know” and then probably name a couple, one of which would be All the Light We Cannot See. There is something utterly charming about it, and if you are like me, you will be bewitched and drawn within a few pages.
Set during the second World War, it follows two main point of view characters, (along with some others here and there) as they grow up during war time. Each has their unique trait – Marie-Laure is blind, and Werner is a technical genius – and these traits determine their course in life. Those things alone make for a good story, especially in the backdrop of war, but what really kicks this book up a level is the author’s way of describing the people, places, and events.
Let me give you an example:
The warrant officer in charge of field exercises is the commandant, an overzealous schoolmaster named Bastian with an expansive walk and a round belly and a coat quivering with war medals. His face is scarred from smallpox, and his shoulders look as though they’ve been hewn from soft clay. He wears hobnailed jackboots every second of every day, and the cadets joke that he kicked his way out of the womb with them.
The book is full of stuff like that, and it makes the story come alive and the scenes and people leap out of the page at you. Add to that the finely woven story, and you have yourself and absolutely fantastic book that will keep you thinking about it long after you’ve finished.