Provocative title, intriguing plot, extraordinary tale about a girl, a boy, and a war.
The story opens to military action taking place on the 8th of August 1944 in the tiny yet strategic seaside town of Saint-Malo, France, where German occupation forces contend with the mounting pressures of the Allied offensive. Amidst the bombing, the rubble and the frenzy of stragglers desperate to escape is a blind 15 year-old French girl fighting for her life. The enemy is personified in the ill and dying German officer intent on his quest for an object that he hopes will save his life.
And what of the 16 year old German orphan, a radiography wunderkind absorbed into the German army? Will his path converge with the girl’s?
This 2015 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction deftly weaves past and present together in a slowly, beautifully-mounting crescendo of inevitability. And yet, the conclusion is a surprising one.
Anthony Doerr’s research evolved into a depth of expertise in esoteric sciences and radiography that he crafts into a richly detailed snapshot of history as it shapes the lives of two innocents swept up in the ravages of war.
This labour of love ten years in the birthing is an unforgettable story that will reverberate long after you read the last page. It is indeed, “A novel to live in, learn from, and feel bereft over when the last page is turned.” — Booklist