Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Trailer Park Tuesday: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Welcome to Trailer Park Tuesday, a showcase of new book trailers and, in a few cases, previews of book-related movies.

I love the story Anthony Doerr tells at the beginning of the trailer for his new novel:
In 2004, I came up to New York City, went into Penn Station, and the man in front of me started complaining about the reception on his cell phone. We're eighty feet underground, he's bashing on his little device, and I'm thinking, "What you're forgetting, mister, is that this is a beautiful miracle--you're talking to somebody very far away with this little transmitter and this little receiver in this device, and all around us this electromagnetic radiation is carrying messages. And that's kind of an amazing thing." So when I started this book, I wanted to capture the magic of hearing the voice of a stranger in a little device in your home. Because for the history of humanity, that was a strange thing. I started with a boy trapped somewhere and a girl reading a story to him over a radio.
That simple concept of the daily miracle we all take for granted eventually grew into this majestic novel we now hold in our hands: All the Light We Cannot See (I would also posit that taking words from a writer's head and transmogrifying them into ink on a page is also a kind of breathtaking miracle).  I've had an advance copy of the novel for several months now.  Though circumstances (always those damned circumstances) have so far prevented me from reading Doerr's novel, I will say that it is high on my To-Be-Read pile (aka Mt. NeveRest)--so high, it's at an altitude where I need an oxygen tank just to reach my copy.  Someday soon, I will get to it.  And yes, I'm stabbed with guilt and longing every time I read this priceless blurb from J. R. Moehringer (Sutton): “Doerr sees the world as a scientist, but feels it as a poet.  He knows about everything—radios, diamonds, mollusks, birds, flowers, locks, guns—but he also writes a line so beautiful, creates an image or scene so haunting, it makes you think forever differently about the big things—love, fear, cruelty, kindness, the countless facets of the human heart.  Wildly suspenseful, structurally daring, rich in detail and soul, Doerr’s new novel is that novel, the one you savor, and ponder, and happily lose sleep over, then go around urging all your friends to read—now.”  You can start losing sleep over All the Light We Cannot See when it publishes in early May.  Here's the plot synopsis of the novel:
      Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure's reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum's most valuable and dangerous jewel.
      In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie- Laure's converge.
I also have to say that the cover design of All the Light We Cannot See is one of my absolute favorites of the year so far.  Though it's awash in blues and greens and grays, it feels like it glows with inner light.

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