This is the room where Marie-Laure lives, in the city of Saint-Malo on the Breton coast. It is in the middle of World War 2. Marie-Laure is blind, and she lives with her uncle by the sea. There is a little grotto, where every day she slips the iron key into the rusted gate. It smells of sea and algae and wet rock. There are a thousand snails in the grotto, hermit crabs, shells. The pebbles are smooth, coupled with the grains of sand, and the water washes into her shoes. It is silent, but loud. She can hear the blue splashes of water on the walls, echoing in aqua and purple. The snails are silver to her, with their whorls of calcium shell, and their soft bodies. She takes her cane, and she closes the iron gate, rough against her hand, and locks it with a little iron key.