Daily Archives: July 25, 2015

All The Light We Cannot See – book review

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is such a beautifully written novel that I was sad when it ended. It is an intimate story that follows the stories of a number of people in France and Germany whose lives are intertwined and impacted by World War II. Many war stories focus on strong soldiers and epic battles. However, this novel is about those who are small and weak and young.

One main character  is a young blind French girl named Marie-Laure who lives in Paris with her widower father. Marie-Laure’s father works at a museum whose greatest treasure is a fabled diamond named The Sea Of Flames. Legend is that whoever possesses this jewel will be immortal, but that all the people that  person loves will meet tragic ends.

All 3

Marie-Doerr is only 12 when World War II begins, and it becomes obvious that the Germans will soon take Paris and steal anything of value.  To save The Sea Of Flames, the museum entrusts it to Marie-Laurie’s father, and the two of them flee Paris.  This would be frightful and traumatic for any child, but is many times more so for a blind girl.

The title All The Light We Cannot See has a double meaning. In one sense, it refers to the fact that the blind girl must imagine the light of the world and create images in her mind. On a deeper level, the title refers to the inner light of a person’s soul and the moral  strength that people  can possess even when they may be physically weak. The characters in the book are people who possess such an inner light. It is a light that the hate-filled messages of the Nazi regime cannot extinguish.

All 2

One of the other main characters is a German boy named Werner who is also 12 when the war begins. He lives in an orphanage and is a near genius for working with radios, which was a new technology at the time. Despite being tiny and thin, his skill gets him accepted into an elite training academy. He is thrilled that he will be learning  at such a prestigious school. However, he soon learns that the main goal of the school is to craft all the boys into good Nazi killing machines rather than in honing their scientific skills.

I will not give away much more of the plot other than to say it is complex and magnificent. Too often, war stories are written with people as stereotypes. In All The Light We Cannot See, the people are real.  You cannot but help ask yourself, “what would I have done in that situation?”

All The Light We Cannot See won a Pulitzer Prize, and we highly recommend it.

Alicia von Rittberg’s New Movie

Alicia von Rittberg will be starring in Our Kind of Traitor which is scheduled to be released soon. This is a thriller based on the best selling novel by John le Carre. She will play the daughter of a powerful Russian mobster. Alicia, of course, is the beautiful German actress who had such a key part in the movie Fury.

July Alicia 3

Alicia von Rittberg will also be beginning work on the film adaptation of the controversial book A Woman in Berlin. This book is a true story of the mass rapes committed by Soviet soldiers when they took over Berlin in World War II. When this book appeared after the war, it was so shocking and so shameful to both Germany and the Soviet Union, that the woman who wrote it had to publish it anonymously.

July Alicia 4

In this movie, Alicia von Rittberg will have the lead role as a young German woman whose only thought is how to survive each day. In one of the most memorable lines, the main character looks back and states that ,” It is hard to believe that there was a time in my life when all I thought about every second of every day was how to stay warm and how to get food.”

July Alicia 2

It is rumored that Alicia von Rittberg has been starving herself for this role to look more realistic for the part. Th movie studio wanted to use special effects, but Alicia insisted on the harder method, to prove to the world that she is indeed a serious actress.