This book set in the World War II period (for the most part) revolves around the lives of two teenagers, a French girl who is blind and a brilliant German boy with a talent for mathematics and electronic circuits who is drafted into the army to locate anti-german radio transmissions. The author ingeniously builds the narrative for these two people and then carefully weaves them progressively closer together until they are momentarily intertwined- which is both heartening and distressing. The author brings the characters to life and makes them memorable, the blind girl Marie-Laure, her papa, and her Great Uncle Etienne, and then the German orphan boy Werner Pfennig, his sister Jutta and his schoolmate Frederick, and finally the German sergeant Reinhold von Rumpel.
Ultimately this book is about many things- the least of which are a mythical cursed diamond. It is about Marie-Laure’s bright spirit, Werner’s continuous battle between duty and honor, the love between father and daughter, the potential for love and courage that a child can engender in someone who felt fear for the longest time, the pure soul and passion in Frederick who was caught in the wrong place and time, and finally the consequences and aftermath of war on everybody.