This book has been spoken about with great reverence by many people in my circle, calling it life-changing, and inspiring, a read that sticks with you. One person I know is on their second reading of this big book, and if that’s not a strong endorsement, to pick it up, I don’t know what is!
I checked it out once before and returned it unread, feeling daunted by the length. But it came back around again on my holds, so I decided to dig in. In the beginning, I was uncertain how I was going to feel about it. By the end, I let everyone who recommended it to me know they had created another convert: this will be on my best books of the year list for sure. What he created was truly astonishing. If Doerr hadn’t already won a Pulitzer for “All the Light We Cannot See,” I’d lead the crowd shouting he should get one for this. (Can you win the Pulitzer more than once? Fact check: you can! But it’s super rare. But I digress).
At 626 pages she’s a hefty novel, that certainly won’t fit into a reasonable-sized handbag or a few sittings. With books such as this, I lead with an arched eyebrow regarding whether they reeeeally needed all those pages and all those words to tell this story. In Doerr’s case, I think he certainly did. Taking place across three timelines, Constantinople, 1453, Idaho, and an unknown time in the not-to-distant future he weaves together a story of hope, resilence, and a true love letter to the art of storytelling, and the best parts of humanity.
This is a book I’ll be thinking about for a while after and will be floating about in my consciousness forevermore. I might even reread it because I think it’ll only become more intricate and beautiful with another opportunity to explore the world and timelines that he created.