History was never the first category of books I look through for reading material. I have intentionally avoided books and movies dealing with some of the most inhumane treatment of any group of human beings by another group of human beings, though a few seeped into my mental landscape regardless of my determination.
Trying to avoid the crimes of humanity in our “in your face” lifestyle where marketing for every imaginable method of separating people from their incomes, would require serious recluse techniques which might be difficult at best, in modern times.
I had heard of the book All The Light You Cannot See by Anthony Doerr but I quickly dismissed it as of no interest to me. However, my friend Diane bought and read the book and then presented it to me to read as well. We often swap books and return them to each other and she read, with much complaining about how she’d never read another of Annie Proulx’s books, The Shipping News, so I could at least have a look at it.
Unlike many books which take 50 to 100 pages to really get the story rolling, this book is good from page one. It starts off in Paris as France is getting invaded by the Germans in World War II. As the pages turn, I am easily absorbed into the lives of a man left to raise his now blind young daughter and the ways in which he works to make sure she will one day be able to navigate through the city and life when he is not at her side. The chapters are short and alternate with the simultaneous lives of a brilliant young boy and his sister who become orphans in Germany when their father dies in a mining accident.
I still would not seek out historic novels, but I’m glad to have combed through the 530 pages of this book, and had a glimpse at the lives of a few from the multitudes of ordinary people and their struggles and sufferings during that terrible event.