Evil fascinates, yet repels. Its illusion seems to obliterate every vestige of life, to those sitting in the malaise of our broken world, I among them.

I hungered for the fresh prose of other such worlds gripped by evil, and retrieved from my bookcase the historical novel, All the Light We Cannot See (2014), A National Book Award Finalist written by Anthony Doerr. A terse thriller set in Nazi-occupied St-Malo, France, it exposed me to Hitler’s dragnet of evil and its aftermath: resilience of spirit in restoration—But not without prodigious growth in two teenagers, the blind French Marie-Laure and the German orphan Werner, terrorized by the sinister Sergeant Major VonRumpel, gemologist for the Reich. In August 1944, Allied bombing made short shrift of the Nazi’s last holdout.

Even more compelling than when I first read this historical novel were its jigsaw-fitting word-images replete with sensory data; urgency clothed the story line such that I could not remain uninvolved. Its freshness washed my imagination and restored hope in a transcendent presence at work, even now, in our Covid-plagued world.

And the book’s title, All the Light We Cannot See, speaks to this uncanny way of knowing, accessed by its author. Such knowing dismantles stratagems of societal evil concocted by global perpetrators in underground labs and conference rooms and spread broadside by fear-mongering news outlets.

Just as Light guided Doerr’s teens through monstrous evil, we too, through heart-faith, can experience such guidance. It’s always there. We just have to be humble and listen.