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Fri, Oct. 18

A magnificent read you'll want to read again

Book Review: "All the Light We Cannot See" (Scribner/ Simon & Schuster) by Anthony Doerr

If for some reason you have not yet read Anthony Doerr's Pulitzer Prize-winning "All the Light We Cannot See," you have a magnificent read ahead of you, hours and hours of losing yourself in a world you will not want give up when the pages run out. And even when they do, that world will stay with you for days and weeks, remaining nearly as real as the one you normally live in, the characters still alive inside you but strangely missing from view. Or so it was with me.

I fell in love with Doerr's two main characters, an 8-year-old German orphan named Werner, and Marie-Laure, "a tall freckled 6-year-old in Paris with rapidly deteriorating eyesight," when the book opens in 1934. Actually, Doerr first gives us a brief and unforgettable glimpse of them 10 years later, in 1944, even before we see them as small children. And throughout the book, he masterfully and indelibly interweaves the intimate details of their lives, as they learn and grow even as the war comes to change everything they and everyone else thought they knew. But although war can subvert lives and dreams, it cannot always extinguish a person's inner spirt.

Doerr's deeply moving book was 10 years in the making. Its language is stunning, filled with "physical detail and gorgeous metaphors," says the San Francisco Chronicle, echoing praise from the Los Angeles Times about "sentences (that) never fail to thrill." But I always take such praise with a grain of salt - until I see for myself. And, indeed, I saw - and found that this book is hard to overpraise, and a book I will make time to reread. So if you have read the book, you know what I'm talking about; if you haven't, the pleasure is ahead of you. But even those who have read this wonderful book might think about what a great gift you could be giving someone for the upcoming holidays. I already know who I'm giving copies to!

- Reviewed by Susan Lang, Peregrine Book Company event coordinator

Peregrine Book Company, 219-A N. Cortez St., is in downtown Prescott.

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