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Mary Gentry Writes

All the Light We Cannot See

I often have books – even really great books – languishing on the ‘to be read’ shelf for weeks or months until I get around to pick them up.  Such was the case with Anthony Doerr’s “All the Light We Cannot See” which I had been saving for a time when I had more time. Given that it has been on the New York Times bestseller list for months, it is obvious that others haven’t let time constraints hobble them as I did.

Over Christmas break, I was evidently channeling my mother. “If you are too busy to read, then you are too busy. “  So I got right on it and spend my pre-dawn hours beside the wood stove with a cup of tea reading “All the Light. . . . “and am transported to another time and place in the company of courageous and clever characters.

Doerr elegantly weaves the stories of  Marie-Laure a blind French girl and Werner, a German boy raised in an orphanage in a mining town whose special talent with radios leads him to a position with the Nazi forces, tracking the resistance movement. Marie-Laure’s story begins in Paris, when the Nazis occupy the city, she moves to Saint-Malo, where her story and Werner’s converge.

I haven’t finished it yet and will surely have more to say when I do.  For now, I can only comment that this is an a mesmerizing  tale, told elegantly. If you haven’t read it yet, mother and I both admonish you to “get right on it!”

I often have more than one book open at a time and the present is no exception.

In early December a friend told me that for Christmas he was giving me “The Silkworm” the sequel to “The Cuckoo Calling” by Robert Galbraith, aka J.K. Rowling. I down loaded “Cuckoo. . . “ on my iPad when we were in Kauai before Christmas, polished it off in no time, and eagerly looked forward to  Christmas and the sequel.

Well guess what? My friend evidently forgot his promise. Fine Santa he’d make!  The day after Christmas, I took myself down to Orca Books and purchased my own copy of “The Silkworm.” These two books hit all the right notes for me as a fan of procedural detective fiction.

The main character, Cormoran Strike, private investigator, is complex and appealing.  In “Cuckoo’s Calling” we learn a bit about Strike’s past – his dubious parentage, military service in Afghanistan, the loss of part of a leg, mounting debts. When the novel opens, he is homeless, having broken off a long-term relationship with a beautiful, wealthy, and mercurial girl friend.

Strike’s rough and ready persona is nicely balanced by Robin, the young woman who arrives on assignment from a ‘temp’ agency to do clerical work and realizes that detection is her true calling.  Robin proves to be an invaluable asset to Strike, and opts to stay despite more lucrative offers and her fiancé’s objections.

This series is sure to be popular.  Each installment leaves the reader eager for more.

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