See Obstacles as Opportunities-Anthony Doerr-All the light we cannot see


2015-Pulitzer Prize winning novel-                                                                     Werner and Marie-Laure’s paths converge in 1944, when Allied forces have landed on the beaches of Normandy and Werner’s unit is dispatched to Saint-Malo to trace and destroy the sender of mysterious intelligence broadcasts. Etienne and Marie-Laure have been making these broadcasts for the French Resistance. Werner ultimately decides to allow the broadcasts to continue and eventually saves Marie-Laure from von Rumpel. Although only together for a short time, they form a strong bond. As they flee from Saint-Malo, Marie-Laure places the Sea of Flames inside a grotto flooded with seawater from the tide. Werner sends Marie-Laure away into safety but becomes gravely ill. Just as he begins to recover, he accidentally steps on a landmine at night in a fit of delirium, which immediately kills him.
Thirty years later, Jutta, Werner’s sister, receives information from Werner’s old associate and friend, Frank Volkheimer, that contains information on Werner’s death as well as a house from the model that Marie-Laure’s father had made. Jutta travels to France with her son Max, where she meets Marie-Laure in the museum at which her father had worked. Marie-Laure discovers that the miniature house in which the Sea of Flames had been hidden, which she put to sea with Werner in a hidden grotto in Saint-Malo, was with Werner when he died. In it, she finds the key to the grotto. The story ends with Marie-Laure, now 86 years old, walking with her grandson in the streets of Paris where she grew up.


The inner life is the central subject of many 20th-century novels, and it is a subject that is not easily brought into the movies.

Tim Spurgin-in Art of Reading course


The inner life of characters of Doerr’s novel-reveals many things about the workings of the Europe of 1940s


The inner life of characters associated with the Third Reich, was the most powerful part of Anthony Doerr’s book- All the Light We Cannot See.

However, I felt that some characters, which may have not been the main protagonists start developing a stronger voice than Werner or Marie Laure who were –at least as per the introduction of the book- the main characters.


Reading in open spaces is different.

Reading Places-Sagawa Beach-Lake Huron

Re-examined the dynamics of the Sergeant Major Von Rumpel-  in his interaction with the museum staff in a bid to get gems. This character brought out many nuances of thinking, organization, of the Third Reich



In the end of the novel Marie Laure looks back at the France of early 1940s and the war, which was its centre, from which the rest of their life spiralled. Marie Laure cannot listen to lists of names. Soccer team rosters, citations at the end of journals, introductions at faculty meetings- always they seem to her some vestige of the prison lists that never contained her father’s name.


In Reading Journal-of last month, German society coming out of reunification was portrayed  through the dialogues of two characters on Nationalism- Jack Reacher-and the German Police chief Griezman. See blog

In this book, the inner workings of Third Reich, how it affected Europe comes across powerfully through the way characters like Von Rumpel approach France, Poland, Trainings.

Reading Places-Rattray Marsh-Port Credit-Mississauga



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