Marie-Laure's journey through blindness, the snails, the Jules Verne's is captivating and inspiring. She was very brave to live through the war and turning her blindness to her advantage. It made her special, powerful precisely because others though her powerless. She was smart in her use of her other senses which saved her from a lot of trouble. She is yet another example of how great blind characters are and how much I love to read about them.
Werner's story on the other hand, discovering radios and repairing them, the children's house, the school and finally the army, is heart-stopping dark and dreadful. The beauty of the story is how the Germans are depicted. They are not all heartless monsters fuelling on Nazism, but they are human beings stuck in a political wave with no other choice but to play the role expected of them, but some enjoyed the violence, the power and the fear they can put in the eyes of others. Those who had no choice like Werner and Velkheimer were dreamers who filled every second they had to themselves with dreams and memories of better choices and loved ones. Some readers would find it a childish behaviour in a time of war filled with ugliness and violence, but I believe it is the most plausible behaviour an unwilling soldier would do if he had to live in a wold he wanted to escape them alive. Werner did not rebel because he is no hero nor he had any hero figure in his life so his actions were to self-preserve his body and soul util he finally found the voice on the radio.
The flow of the story is magnificent. The short chapters makes reading feels like looking at photographs of the period, and each has a story to tell. The network of chapters are very well connected.
I don't want to spoil the end but it is well done, which is rare. I cried because happiness and sorrow are intertwined forever for those who survived and the war hunts them, but life, as it is always, moves on and everything becomes a memory.
A wonderful read that transported me years and miles away to a place where real life was an adventure and everyday was as precious and as fragile as the one that passed.