Werner, a German orphan conscripted into Hitler’s Youth and then service, follows the blip of a radio transmission into the heart of the besieged city—a tenacious beacon of hope and a voice he recognizes from his youth.
Marie-Laure is the daughter of a locksmith—the master locksmith for the Natural History Museum in Paris—sent by his employers on a journey of great importance; tasked with protecting an ancient secret. Only this task could rip him from his daughter’s side, leaving her in the care of his uncle—a war veteran with secrets of his own.
Werner and his sister are children when they discover an old, abandoned radio, which they repair and share with the orphanage. The transmissions open a new world for Verner: a world wider than the mines. When war breaks out across Germany, Werner’s engineering skills are noticed and appropriated in ways that drive him to a final, desperate act of rebellion.
Doerr describes the separate, yet intertwined, journeys Marie-Laure and Wener take to St.-Malo with the perfect balance of tension and compassion: his writing is rich with metaphor; alive with the political and social state of Hitler’s Europe; and shows readers that goodness, like light, is still present—even in the darkest of times. This is an incredible story, written with an eye for the beauty of language. This is one of the best WWII novels I have read in a long time.
Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize