It's been quite a while since I've picked up a historical fiction and it's rare that I read an adult book so might as well hit two birds with one stone. I thought that this book really illustrated points about the war that I never had to think about before. The idea of someone trying to make something of themselves even though they feel what they are doing is wrong, knowing there is no way back, PTSD before it was fully accepted, and how Germany looked between the two world wars. I think that the pacing for this book helped keep me interested the changing between past, present and finally futuristic times to our main characters. The main characters in this story were two very interesting points of views to read from as well as the other side characters who sometimes had a chapter here and there.
Marie-Laure: I don't think that I've read from a character who was blind before and it was interesting to see the way the author worked that into his writing. The way that Marie-Laure made her way through different cities and experience the war would be very different from others in similar positions to her. I thought that an interesting idea was how she claimed not to be brave just living her life. It was a way I never thought of looking at the situation.
Werner: I was interested in his beginning to see how Germany changed between the wars and right before the second. To see his fear about the mines and making a choice to "better" himself. Little did he know.. but he would have been conscripted either way. I also thought that the choices he made were tough choices to make. He was scared to speak up and wouldn't you be as well if you worried nothing would change or you would be next. I thought that his death was a little crazy. It makes sense if you think about him dying due to not having the stone, but at the same time, I wished he would have made it through. At least the author was realistic.
Frank Volkheimer: Overall he was a man who did what he thought was right for his country and himself and by 1974 it clearly haunts him every day.
Etienne: Another interesting perspective to think of someone who has PTSD from the first world war and is entering the second. I wonder how many men experienced this from the first to the second world war. Were they able to survive another time either from home or the trenches? I'm happy that he ended up living a long life.
Frederick: I thought that the ending was a chance for Werner to say goodbye to Frederick and I wish that he had had a chance to live a very different life.
Jutta: She was one of the only people who had her eyes wide open and was going to say something about what she saw. I think her future was a sad look for us, but important none the less. To see Berlin post war was a scary thought for me as a young lady. A subject I would be interested in learning more about.
Madame Manec: To have lived through 2 wars and to still be willing to stand up to the oppression her country was experiencing was inspiring.
Reinhold von Rumple: A desperate man will do desperate things for certain.
Daniel: I wish we saw more of him, but once again a realistic showing of how people who went to work camps did not often make it home or anywhere after the war.
Bastian: He was a root of evil. To train those boys to do those things and have them kill a man ever year shakes me. It makes you wonder what motives he had to do such a thing, or if he took much convincing.
Moments to Remember:
"'And you, Madame? What would you like to be?'
'Me?' Madame Manec's knife pauses. Crickets sing in the cellar. 'I think I would like to be the Blade.'
'Yes.' The perfume of the peaches makes a bright ruddy cloud.
'The Blade?' repeats Marie-Laure. Then they both start laughing."
Final Line: "Until all she can hear are the sighs of cars and the rumble of trains and the sounds of everyone hurrying through the cold."
Thanks for reading,