I am reluctant to share the plot details of All the Light We Cannot See for fear of spoiling the experience that is unspooling this beautiful novel. This is a dual narrative, switching back and forth between a young man in Germany and a young woman in France during WWII. Werner, a brilliant orphan with hair as white as schnee, is a radio-repairing engineering genius who finds himself in the German army while Marie-Laure, a blind French girl, flees occupied Paris with her beloved father to live in the seaside city of St Malo with her great (truly great) uncle Etienne.
The love in the book is so understated but palpable, and the particular way Doerr expresses the grief and longing the characters have for their family and their previous way of life is devastating. My favorite passage from the book sums up the out-of-body absurdity that experiencing grief can be:
German sailors sing a drunken song in the street, and a house spider over the stove spins a new web every night, and to Marie-Laure this is a double cruelty: that everything else keeps living, that the spinning earth does not pause for even an instant in its trip around the sun.
I would highly recommend this book, which set me off on a WWII binge in its wake. A difficult tale, told beautifully.