Fifteen Reasons to Read "All the Light We Cannot See"
Start writing a post
Entertainment

Fifteen Reasons to Read "All the Light We Cannot See"

“Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.”

570
Fifteen Reasons to Read "All the Light We Cannot See"
Vin et Livres

When I first cracked open the cover of All the Light We Cannot See, I was looking forward to the new book smell. Now, when I pull the book from my shelf, I smell stale tea, granola bar crumbs, and pencil lead accumulated over many months of annotating. The pages are crumpled and obsessively sticky-noted, and a few key passages are tear-stained. Interestingly enough, only one or two of those passages are even from “sad” parts of the book—most of them are just, well, super beautiful. My copy is nearly as ruined as I am.

In case no one has already raved about the book to you, it is set during the German occupation of France during World War II and follows the lives of a French girl, Marie-Laure, who is blind, and a German boy, Werner Pfennig, who is a part of Hitler’s Youth. Although I am tempted to, I am not advertising All the Light We Cannot See as “life-changing” or “heart-breaking” because everyone’s reaction to literature is different. However, several factors made my experience with the book feel that way.

Most of all, I was struck by Doerr’s command of language, and how he described things with words I didn’t know could be used to describe them. Doerr describes eggs as tasting like “clouds" and "spun gold” and canned peaches tasting like “wedges of wet sunlight.” And the beautiful, original descriptions flood every page of the novel—I don’t think I can make it five pages through any section of the book without gasping in awe at an image. The way Doerr perfectly describes the “indescribable” beauties of the world inspires me.

But the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is not simply a technical marvel of the English language. Doerr uses his literary prowess to articulate the themes of mortality, love, and hope that so often are cliché in war stories, in poignant, refreshing ways. Doerr gives German soldiers souls and lets them appreciate art, nature, and family; he develops a blind character past the point of her blindness; he lets crises stay messy and unresolved as they do in the real world. Although there is a strain of happy coincidence in the narrative, it doesn’t take away from the powerful expression of human emotion that runs alongside it.

These fifteen quotes are among my favorites from the novel, and are fifteen reasons to go buy a copy. Although they offer some brief insight into the story, they shouldn’t give anything away (except maybe the omnipresent sea symbolism). Enjoy!

1. “I have been feeling very clearheaded lately and what I want to write about today is the sea. It contains so many colors… It is my favorite thing, I think, that I have ever seen. Sometimes I catch myself staring at it and forget my duties. It seems big enough to contain everything anyone could ever feel.”

2. “The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the globe . . . The sea is only a receptacle for all the prodigious, supernatural things that exist inside it. It is only movement and love; it is the living infinite.”

3. “Out on the beaches, her privation and fear are rinsed away by wind and color and light.”

4. “To shut your eyes is to guess nothing of blindness. Beneath your world of skies and faces and buildings exists a rawer and older world, a place where surface planes disintegrate and sounds ribbon in shoals through the air.”

5. “His voice is low and soft, a piece of silk you might keep in a drawer and pull out only on rare occasions, just to feel it between your fingers.”

6. “Walk the paths of logic. Every outcome has its cause, and every predicament has its solution. Every lock its key.”

7. “What are words but sounds these men shape out of breath, weightless vapors they send into the air of the kitchen to dissipate and die?”

8. “Time is a slippery thing: lose hold of it once, and its string might sail out of your hands forever.”

9. “The very life of any creature is a quick-fading spark in fathomless darkness.”

10. “Even total darkness is not quite darkness.”

11. “But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don't you do the same?”

12. “Don’t you want to be alive before you die?”

13. “Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.”

14. “We rise again in the grass. In the flowers. In songs.”

15. “It's embarrassingly plain how inadequate language is.”

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less
Featured

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

47498
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee
nappy.co

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

120631
college students waiting in a long line in the hallway
StableDiffusion

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments