Saturday, May 23, 2015

All the Light We Cannot See

As legend has it, there is a gem that possesses the ability to keep its owner safe for all time. But this gem holds a curse as well, as those around its owner will suffer immeasurably. It has been locked away in the depths of a museum in Paris, but as Nazi Germany tightens its grip on Europe, the Museum curator makes an important decision. Five men will be a given a pouch with the gem, but only one will have the real thing.

Enter the museum locksmith and his daughter: Marie-Laure is a 12-year-old blind girl who unwittingly becomes the center of so many worlds. They escape to sea-side town, but nowhere in Europe is safe from the grips of war.

Werner stares out the children's home window at the mines everyday, knowing it will soon be his turn to descend the elevator into the murky depths of this dark world. But when an opportunity arises to join the Nazi army and use his passion for radios, he sees an escape route. Naive and excited, he enrolls, sending himself into a different dark world altogether. Werner has a talent for radios, and his sharp mind earns him the admiration of a specialty unit. Their job is to locate anti-Nazi radio broadcasters and terminate the sources. But one night when he hears a soft voice over the radio, quietly whispering the words of Twenty Leagues Under the Sea, his mission changes. Werner must find her and save her in order to save himself.

The Nazi sergeant has heard the rumors. He has read the research. He knows that the gem is out there; that it has left the padlocks of the museum and ventured out into the world. The throbbing tumor in his neck is like a ticking time bomb. He doesn't have long until it is too late. The Nazi leader must find the gem: his only chance for survival. But where? And with whom would the museum trust such a rare and holy sparkling gem? He follows the path of possibilities until he sees it: the towering house left standing in the rubble of the sea-side village. The only untouched refuge. It must be there.

Their paths will cross just as the destruction overtakes the city.

This is an interesting and empathetic look at the ways all suffer in war, and the small glimmering shreds of hope that they hold on to that carry them through to the light.

NPR: World War II In A New 'Light' review