Archive for June, 2014

All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is a phenominal book! It’s a gripping 530 pages, and I didn’t want it to end. There are two ongoing stories in the book. Marie-Laure’s father works for the Museum of Natural History in Paris. When she is 6 she goes blind, and her father builds her a perfect miniature replica of their neighbourhood so she can learn to navigate her way around. When she is 12 the Nazis occupy Paris and she flees with her father to Saint-Malo along with what may or may not be museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel. Meanwhile Werner, a young German orphan, becomes enthralled and obsessed with learning everything he can about radios. He is a self taught mister-fix-it who comes to the attention of Hitler’s regime and he is offered a place at a special academy for Hitler’s most up and coming youth. Werner eventually travels throughout the war putting his expertise to work, and he ends up in Saint-Malo where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge. Doeer has pulled off a masterpiece. The book is exceedingly well written, and well researched. There’s an unbelievable amount of info about radios, circuits, electronics etc., as well as the exhibits and treasures in the Natural History Museum in Paris. Never once did I find the story lag. In fact, I saved the last 20 pages or so because I didn’t want it to end. It’s definitely worth adding to your summer reading list. *****

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And the Dark Sacred Night

Julia Glass’  latest book And the Dark Sacred Night is a great story that combines new characters with  familiar figures from her first  novel, Three Junes. I love it when authors do that. Make a connection to previous books. (Yes I’ve read it, but unfortunately when I went searching for it on my bookshelf to reread and familiarize myself with Lucinda and Malachy I discovered that I’d given it to the resale shop at my local library before moving. Arrggg!)  In a nutshell, Kit Noonan, an unemployed art historian (his specialty is Inuit Art! – go figure… a definite Canadian connection to the story), decides it’s high time he searched for his “real” father. He wants the truth. His mother Daphne has always refused to divulge his dad’s name or any circumstances surrounding his birth. Kit goes to his step-father Jasper to see if he will help him in his quest to discover some family history, and Jasper sets the ball in motion. All of a sudden there are relatives coming out of the proverbial woodwork. This is a book about families and their secrets, and the choices we make when we’re young that affect us for the rest of our lives. It’s about forgiveness and the discovering who we really are before it’s too late. And sometimes discovery leads us back to the beginning again. So, be careful what you wish for. Glass is a great writer, and she’s written another great book.

Glass’ dedication at the front of the book is very interesting – “For Elliot: the brother I always wanted… and found out I had all along.” It makes me wonder if what she’s written has a kernel of truth buried somewhere deep inside the story.

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