#AMREADING ANTHONY DOERR, All the Light We cannot See.
- 1934 Essen: it’s steel country, anthracite country, a place full of holes. Smokestacks fume and locomotives trundle back and forth on elevated conduits and leafless trees stand atop slag heaps like skeleton hands shoved up from the underworld.
- 1934 The fragrance of Paris (a blind girl’s impression): In the fall it smells of traffic and castor oil, bread from the bakery, camphor from Avent’s pharmacy, delphiniums and sweet peas and roses from the flower stand. On winter days it swims with the odor of roasting chestnuts; on summer evenings it becomes slow and drowsy, full of sleepy conversations and the scraping of heavy iron chairs.
- 1940 The interrogator is waiting for information: I am quite gifted in waiting, he says, It is my one great skill. I was never much good at athletics or mathematics, but even as a boy, I possessed unnatural patience. I would wait with my mother while she got her hair styled. I would sit in the chair and wait for hours, no magazine, no toys, not even swinging my legs back and forth. All the mothers were very impressed.
- 1942 The German troops in Russia: All winter they drive their horses and sledges and tanks and trucks over the same roads, packing down the snow, transforming it into a slick bloodstained ice-cement. And when April finally comes, reeking of sawdust and corpses, the canyon walls of snow give way while the ice on the roads remains stubbornly fixed, a luminous internecine network of invasion.
- 1944 The German troops in France. Werner was brought up with the motto Ordnung muss sein – There must be order. But war destroys all order, he thinks, as he looks at the smoking, ruined villages, the broken pieces of brick in the street, the frozen corpses, the shattered walls, the upturned cars, the barking dogs, the scurrying rats and lice…It’s all Hades.
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