|Me: I feel that we are repeating mistakes that were already committed in the past. I am sure you are better at identifying them, but I don’t quite understand what makes humanity repeat their story over and over.
Marie-Laure: (Gently grabs by the ear and plate, and takes a zip of the prince of wales tea I thought she would enjoy) See, this is something I was not able to understand until my latest years, human nature makes people forget really fast when they are not paying attention to details.
Me: From the time when you lived, do you think there’s something different from now?
Marie-Laure: Yes, now human hope is bigger, you are able to see other people fighting for peace as well as you do. Before you hoped for that, but now you see it, the world is more connected now.
Me: Would you prefer to have lived nowadays or when you lived?
Marie-Laure: The time when you are destined is when you actually live on. My time passed and I redeemed myself with aging. I would not change it, I held many treasures, my dad, my uncle, Madame Manec, Werner.
Me: And what about the jewel?
Marie-Laure: Nothing compares to the light that comes from others, from the ones you love. A piece of old carbon will never compare to feeling my dad, or eating Madame Manec’s delicious patisserie, nor even listening to Etienne’s splendide stories, nor feeling Warner’s decided will of protecting me. Nothing in this world compares to loving others.
Have you ever found a story that is able to change the rest of your living days? Once, I met a girl name Marie Laure, and since I met her, she accompanies me every single day. The interesting memoir is that she has opened my eyes to life to so many things that I was not able to observe before. You know, some people have their eyes closed all their lives, but some others that can’t see, see beyond matters.
I must admit that I was mesmerized by the style of this book! How Anthony Doerr joins two stories narrated in the past, the present, one in the future, and then adds one more story until all suddenly collapsed in the present! For one moment, I was not quite sure where the stories where going. I knew they were all victims of the war because if there is war, we are all victims regardless of which is your party. The whole stone story that seemed just a myth got together with a horrible reality. Such a great coincidence…
It is so horrific to see those historical facts that move the book through the story of Marie-Laure LeBlanc and Wegner. They are such dynamic characters! The little girl that one knows at the beginning is totally different from the one we know at the end. She not only changes herself but also the life of the people that surrender her. Wegner had that same spark, he was born with this curiosity and desire to learn, but he had no options at all. We see these two characters, and we see how they do whatever to survive a world that is just meant to destroy them. The lost of people, the cruelty of humanity, it’s corruption and vices are so well seen.
When I said that the characters are dynamic is true. Wegner is so blind and takes the “I’ll do whatever to make my dreams come true” too literal and makes some of his dreams come true, but what about the price?
It is so sad all the lost in the novel, how hope almost dies slowly on Marie but also on the reader. One keeps reading, hoping, crossing one’s fingers and what does one get? Arthritis… old lady crooked fingers for holding to an illusion too difficult to be possible.
I cannot think of Saint-Malo and not wanting to go. To see this walled city that inspired this novel. That city that, with another hundred cities, was marked by war and human suffering. Mementos of the atrocities of humanity.
However, life goes on, and some loose ends meet there closure. War is always there, either internal or country vs country. Once there is war, there are ashes to remember the mistakes. All the Light We Cannot see might be just a metaphor of all the shades of humanity that we don’t know or just a way to say that we live in darkness and doomed to destroy each other. Or simply that we are blind and so stupid to be able to see the light, the light of life, love of the other, even if they are enemies, and hope for the future.
But the question is, what can humanity learn from this book and from history in general? That hope, love, and peace are always there, love is always there. We just need to open the eyes and see all the things we cannot see.
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Find your peace, find your joy, find your book, and never let go