Dependent Origination

All the Light We Cannot See

Posted on: January 28, 2018

by Anthony Doerr

all_the_light_we_cannot_see

I finished Virginia Woolf’s book on the flight to China and a day or two later, while fixing up my jet lag. So I must have started this book somewhere in Yunnan. I cannot remember exactly when and where. But by the time I was traveling in Dali, I was reading it. I was reading it while waiting for the train from Lijiang to Dali, in the waiting room of the small station. There was a large family around me, who were showing each other what they bought during the trip. Those details I remember vividly.

I went to check out Er Hai in Dali. It turned out to be a rip-off. But I managed to find an open tea room, which overlooks the lake Er Hai. I read most of Marie’s idealistic childhood during that time. Despite multiple tragedies happened to both the blind French girl Marie, and the German boy Werner, for example, the girl lost her mother at birth and her eyesight seven or eight years old, and the boy lost his dad (and later mom) due to a mining accident so he had to grow up in an orphanage, their childhood all have a strange beauty to it. Marie has a caring and patient father, and a settled life growing up in the Museum. Werner has his sister and their adventures with radios.

The story is excellent plot wise and character wise. In that it makes me think repeatedly about the book title and its allusions in the book. The girl is blind but she persists, with lots of love and luck. The boy persisted and met his destiny with a final clarity. He tried to survive, tried to follow the current but in the end, he saw the light and the beauty from his childhood, in all the carnage the war had brought up.

It was a very enjoying read. I love the book. Five stars.

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