I told a European friend once that I prayed nightly for the success of the EU because it was the only thing that kept European nations out of war since WWII. He replied, “No, it isn’t the EU, it’s because we’ve had NATO’s boot on our necks.”
You read a book like this and you think “Whatever works,” because absent the last sixty years armies have been marching back and forth across Europe for two millennia now and it’s always the children who suffer most. Hitler’s having his apple and brown bread for breakfast while 14-year old Werner is learning how to be a monster, and de Gaulle is safe in England while 12-year old Marie-Laure is risking her life passing messages for the resistance.
A heart-wrenching narrative, very well written, with one of the best organized narrative lines I’ve ever seen. It’s also a pretty conservative book and I don’t mean that in a pejorative way. The guilty and the relatives of the guilty are punished, and the righteous survive and go on to thrive. It’s a traditional message but a satisfactory one.
And I’m always going to wonder if Marie-Laure believed in the curse. She would have known if the little house was in the sea or not. Why make Werner tell her if it was, if not in the hope to make him curious enough to go back and get the stone, and have his world destroyed around him as hers has been?
Of course the decision is his, and I won’t spoil. Highly recommended.