Reading in Corona times….one of the positive things that has been granted to me these days, while staying at home, has been time: time to continue with projects I had started and never finished, time to read.
As I finished reading “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doer, the feelings of melancholy, romanticism, sadness, relief and acceptance came to visit me.
At that moment, I dared to compare myself with Boethius, as he was visited and consoled by Lady Philosophy, during the time of his imprisonment. I realised that stories console….especially the beautifully written ones, as this great Pulitzer Prize winner by Doerr.
This book was not just a single story…there were many stories, which set in the the WWII context, gave it a human touch. There was humanity amidst that monstrosity….there were feelings of empathy, fear, solidarity and love, coming from the German side too.
At the center, lay the eloquent narratives of the stories of a blind French little girl and a white-haired, curious orphan German boy. As their lives were unfolded and crossed paths during the book, by the end of it, it felt that I had known these characters from forever. I now know how they think, what they feel, how they imagine the world, how their platonic love is born.
Love through the senses and imagination are not always easy to be transmitted to the reader, especially as they develop in a war setting. However, in this case, the author did a great job at carrying me away in their journey, from 1939-1045 and beyond. I got under the skin of Marie-Laurie and Werner; of her uncle, her father, his sister, his friends…I followed deeper into the world of senses of a blind girl, imagining it from the noises, the touch, the smells, the taste, the light I could not literally see…
The language used is so artistic, and each sentence is compact…each word matters and transmits specificities. Some of them are so nuanced, that I even had to look them up, in order to get the whole experience.
Emotions were not dictated to me by Doerr. I was empowered to choose my own emotions to visit and console me, using my power of imagination as their means of transport. Hence, amalgamating myself with the story, it was also a journey within myself.
Maybe it is my current state of mind, from this quarantine situation, which has triggered a higher intensity of these emotions. I can relate a bit more to the characters’ journal, chronicling how people change during war.
Maybe in my subconsciousness, I was always placing analogies of that past war, with this present one. If that is the case, then I wonder at which part of this current war I am living right now….is this the calm before the storm? When is the rainbow coming out?…