All the Light We Cannot See is a book about survival. Set during WWII it follows a young German boy, Werner, with light colored hair and blue eyes - a prime boy for Hitler's youth program and during his early teenage years is sent to a brutal military academy. In Paris a young blind girl, Marie-Laure is living a different life with her father who is a locksmith in the Museum of Natural History. After Nazi occupation they flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo.
We often forget that Hitler's brutality did not only encompass his enemies, but also the German population. Neither escaped his vengeance for those he saw as inferior in an effort to purge the world of those less than superior. When Werner first enters the military camp, he is graded by many features including the color of his eyes which were noted not only as to the color blue but the shade also.
This was a book club read and I'm not sure if I would have finished it, if I had chosen it myself. I found the writing wasn't smooth, but it perhaps did work with the subject matter. The story wasn't chronological and moved backwards and forwards so I found myself going back to the beginning of the chapter to see what year I was reading.
I had not heard of Saint-Malo before reading the book. It is off the French coast of Brittany and founded in the first century BC. At that time is was connected to the mainland by a sandbank - at high tide it became an island.
Saint Malo has an interesting history. But during WWII it was almost completely destroyed during the German occupation. Thirty years of rebuilding has made it once again a popular destination.