What an achievement! One of those books you read more slowly as you near the end. You don't want it to be over. Some of Doerr's descriptive paragraphs are so lyrical, so original, so evocative, that they could stand alone as poems. What the reader should understand from this story is how human brutality and compassion can exist side by side, but that redemption remains a possibility. Hence there is hope. The characterization is wonderfully wrought. Marie-Laure and Werner have been given life, as well as many other minor characters. This novel might be evidence that great writers are those who do not begrudge taking years to arrive at the goal of near perfection. I've added this novel to a short list that I thus categorize.