All The Light We Can Not See by Anthony Doerr is one of the 3 books I recently read in which the tyranny of a totalitarian regime shapes the life of the main characters.
The other books are The Noise Of Time by Julian Barnes and Purity by Jonathan Franzen.
All The Light is is V-shaped book. The legs of the V are the lives of the two protagonists. A German boy grows up under the Nazi regime. A French, blind girl lives in Paris. The story develops, we follow there lives and finally they meet. As if their lives we only meant for that one special occasion.
Like the composer in The Noise of Time, the German boy is morally corrupted by the oppressive government and subtly forced to betray his friend. While he notices himself how his mind is brainwashed by the messages the government has pumped in his head.
“Each time he blinks, he sees the men of his childhood, laid-off miners drifting through the back alleys, men with hooks for fingers and vacuum for eyes; he sees Bastian standing over a smoking river, snow falling all around him. Führer, Volk, Fatherland. Steel you body, steel your soul.”
And so he sells out to his friend, and to his sister. In The Noise Of Time the composer vanishes in the darkness of the State, leaving nothing but his music behind. In The Light there is the girl who become the angel. When they finally meet, she gives the boy’s life its meaning, and he knows, and “disappears in a fountain of earth”.