All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

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All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

by Anthony Doerr

Scribner | May 6, 2014 | Hardcover

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel is rated 4.5517 out of 5 by 29.
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 544 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.7 in

Published: May 6, 2014

Publisher: Scribner

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1476746583

ISBN - 13: 9781476746586

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from So different from most A seemingly simple story but set against WWII. This one shows, so very well, war's effect on real people...like a man and his blind daughter, and a young German soldier. Not a love story but a tale of love and wonder and perserverance. So beautifully done. My sincere thanks to the author.
Date published: 2015-05-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating read, I love detail, you can really feel what the characters are expericencing. I had read A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead prior to picking this one up. Thinking this would be lighter story. Weaving the graphic detail of that one with the horror of what is hinted at in All the Light We Cannot See made this an even more powerful read. All the Light We Cannot See is a keeper in my library and one that I will reread. How deep you go into the history and feel of the book is up to you - it is a gripping, emotional ride whichever way you approach it.
Date published: 2015-05-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Fiction of the Year! Don't miss this one! Beautiful, artful, compelling world war 2 story that puts our modern life in it's place like no other I've read in years.
Date published: 2015-03-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Extraordinary This book is beautifully told and completely enthralling, I couldn't put it down! It is impossible not to get immersed into the worlds of each character, and their experiences are truly touching. I would highly recommend this book!
Date published: 2015-03-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best book I've ever read! Hand's down, absolute BEST book I've ever read. I got it for my kobo e-reader and flew through it and decided I had to have a hardcopy of it and bought it immediately. I'm about to sit down and read it again. It is so beautifully written, so much so that I would re-read pages or paragraphs multiple times because I could not believe how outstanding the writing was. I love the story and he does such an incredible job with little details and it's just perfect. I can't gush about it enough, I've told everyone I know how good it is!
Date published: 2015-02-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Truly amazing !! I just finished reading this book and I could sit down read it again. I honestly felt that I was there, a part of their lived . Absolutely beautiful.! If you read one book this year, this has to be it.
Date published: 2015-02-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully written, moving story Reading this book was like reading beautiful poetry, the writing was so lovely. I fell in love with it within the first few pages. The characters are well-developed, the story captivating and moving. I loved every single word. I read it really quickly because I just couldn't put it down, I didn't want it to end. When it did, I found myself, and still find myself, thinking about these characters. There's so much in this book, I know I will read it many times.
Date published: 2015-02-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Extrodinary I enjoyed his book from the first page to the last page. I found it hard to let these characters go, as you develop such caring for them all even the unredeemable ones. Given the subject matter I was not sure if I would be able to enjoy or finish this book, but you are in very good hands with this incredible author. While parts of this book are gut wrenching and difficult , there is nothing written that is not needed to fully feel and be all consumed in this book which is also so suspenseful and lovely and sad and joyously happy too. The chapters are all written to connect page after page and the book tumbles to its ending which was too soon. This is a flawlessly written beautiful book by an incredible author, and like the book says "every outcome has it's cause and every predicament has it's solution" I will definitely read whatever this author writes in the future.
Date published: 2015-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this book! I bought this book a while ago as it was on sale... excellent read. touching story. highly recommended.
Date published: 2015-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing read When I first started reading this book, I couldn't believe how quickly I was immersed in the story of two separate lives that end up converging at a point in history where great catastrophe meets with enormous human compassion. However the really amazing part is the descriptions of ordinary life makes the reader feel just how full of wonder life is even in the worst of circumstances. Nothing prepared me for the enchantment that the author brings to the written word. A very satisfying read that will stay with me forever.
Date published: 2015-01-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Lovely read All the Light We Cannot See is a book comprised of parts, and chapters within the parts. The parts are grouped according to year and the chapters alternate points of view between a blind French girl, Marie-Laure, and an orphaned German boy, Werner. The chapters are short and the author does an amazing job of keeping the reader in both of these characters lives simultaneously. I was also very impressed with the style of Anthony Doer's writing. The story allows the reader into the lives of these children as world war 2 begins to affect them. Mr Doer does a great job of telling their stories without being judgmental or overly sentimental. This allows the reader to really connect with the characters as well as their circumstances and sympathize with both. At first I did have a problem with how the parts of the book bounce between past and present in the characters lives. I would get so involved in what was going on, that when the part and therefore year changed, I had to flip back in the book and figure out where the last part left off. This was not enough to make me put the book down and pretty soon I was changing time periods as quickly as the book was. My eyes were opened to a lot of realities I hadn't before considered with regard to how the war continued to affect people long after it had ended. This is a fabulous book and will definitely lead me to read more of the author's work.
Date published: 2015-01-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable read Frequent historical cliche and hyperbole but very well written and it kept me turning the pages.
Date published: 2014-12-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not For Me I had a difficult time getting through it. I found it to be slow, somewhat interesting, but slow.
Date published: 2014-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved It! Wonderful read. I enjoyed how it flipped back and forth between characters.
Date published: 2014-12-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from All The Light We Cannot See Good book!
Date published: 2014-11-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A beautiful story I loved the story until it got to the end. Why did it end like that? I was looking forward to finishing this book but I was disappointed with the ending.
Date published: 2014-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from a favourite story that stays with you
Date published: 2014-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Masterpiece I will say it is slow at times, but by the end of the book I did not care. I have never read a more beautifully written and touching book.
Date published: 2014-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating read, beautifully written. I loved this book. It is interesting and full of wonderful characters and emotion. When I wasn't reading this book, I found myself thinking about the characters and their situations and I couldn't wait to pick it up again. This book is more than good!! There are lots of stories set in WWII but this is still fresh and exciting and I'm glad I picked this up!
Date published: 2014-08-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent A blind French girl and a orphan German boy, with World War II the background, make an amazingly beautiful story. Though it is a bit long through the mid-part, I hated to come to the end of the book because it wrapped me in its exceptional characters who moved through the ravages of war in their own unique circumstances. So well done.
Date published: 2014-08-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Well-written, but ... This book received rave reviews and I was hoping to pre-screen it for a bookclub pick. The book was really beautifully written, but unfortunately the story just didn't grab me. I enjoyed the relationship between Marie-Laure and her father. I found the parts about her blindness and his role in educating her as to her surroundings etc to be interesting. But unfortunately, most of the book was about hiding out during the German invasion of France, and it grew tedious after a while.
Date published: 2014-08-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from good but not great I enjoyed this book and although it was extremely well-written I found that the story itself very slow in progression. I began to get bored a lot of the time because of the duplicity. This author is a very talented writer but probably could have used a talented editor.
Date published: 2014-08-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Beautifully Haunting Story One of the best books I have read this year. The descriptions about the beauty and horrors of the world are simply amazing. The author created two emotionally captivating protagonists whose life journeys are so brave and inspiring. Definitely worth spending the time and money.
Date published: 2014-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Soon to become a classic This is the best novel I have read in a very long time. It is emotional, fulfilling, illuminating...brilliantly written and will ever remain with me. This deserves many awards. And millions of readers.
Date published: 2014-07-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant! This is one of the most captivating, beautiful books I have ever read! It is my first time reading one of Anthony Doerr's books, and I have to say, he is an artist with words, painting such vivid imagery for his readers with his elegant descriptions. I found myself cheering for the valiant Marie-Laure and smiling at the captivating love shown to her through her father, eclectic uncle Etienne, and the tender Madame Manec. If you are in for a novel that will keep you up turning pages, this is it. A beautiful tapesty of loss, love, and an iron will for survival--this book will keep you reading to the very end. "All the Light We Cannot See" shines a light on a dark time, and yet, warms your heart and soul to the very core. A definite must read!
Date published: 2014-07-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the the best books in the last 2 years! An engaging book, thrilling at times in it's suspense, multi layered with characters of depth and believability. A must read !
Date published: 2014-06-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very captivating I really enjoyed this book, it wasn't what I expected, I am very happy I read it.
Date published: 2014-06-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from All the Light We Cannot See A blind girl, her Father, an eccentric Great Uncle, an orphaned child genius in electronics and a precious diamond with a legend all come together in the backdrop of Germany and France during the second world war. This page turning book is well worth its purchase and one that will live on in your memory for a long time!
Date published: 2014-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Captivating and Moving Story! One of the most beautifully written, touching stories I've read this year is "All The Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr which I won from Goodreads Giveaways. Set in France it explores the lives of Werner Pfennig a German orphan and Marie-Laure LeBlanc, a blind French girl growing up during the chaos of World War II. Blind at the age of six Marie-Laure is nurtured by her father, a master locksmith at the Museum of Natural History. By memorizing a model of her neighborhood, she excels in navigating the streets with her cane, and after learning to read in Braille thrives in the world of her imagination. But with the German occupation of Paris, Marie-Laure's world is suddenly turned upside-down when she and her father have to escape to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast. Living with her father, her reclusive uncle and a courageous housekeeper she learns that blindness can be a blessing and a force for good in resisting German tyranny. A secondary plot follows the life of Werner Pfennig, a German boy growing up with his sister Jutta in a Children's House in Zollverein, west of Paris . Born with an inherent talent for mechanical repairs, and a gift for mathematics, he soon wins a place at a brutal military academy where he's cruelly indoctrinated into German dogma. When his talents become expendable at the school, Werner is enlisted in the war effort as a Resistance tracker. Destiny will determine his fate when his path and Marie's converge in Saint-Malo. Entwined with the threads of these stories is the German hunt for a diamond haunted by superstition and mystery. Worth millions the precious gem will be intrinsically linked to the fate of Werner and the LeBlancs. The wonderfully imaginative plot is filled with the suspicion, chaos, contest of wills, and violence that's war. As events unfold and the story progresses, the pain, madness and despair so prevalent in the plot is mitigated with liberal doses of loyalty, friendship and unconditional love. Short chapters span a time frame from pre-war to the occupation of France and builds a mood in which lives shift and flow. Anthony Doerr uses descriptive detail and wonderful metaphors not only to bring a clear visualization of the setting with all its sights, sounds and smells, but to give life to the chaos of war. All the characters are well-developed and realistic bringing depth and power to this riveting narrative. Marie-Laure LeBlanc is a loving child blinded at a young age. She's inquisitive and ingenious, clever and brave, never letting the darkness of her blindness restrict her independence or undermine any possibilities in her life. Werner Pfennig is a child with a keen curiosity and questioning spirit. Highly intelligent. ambitious and a clever scavenger, he feels trapped as an orphan, his future preordained. Desensitised to the cruelty of his strict German Masters, Werner grapples with a deep desire to find redemption for his betrayals and to rediscover his humanity. With skilful dexterity, Anthony Doerr draws a stark contrast between the conflicts these two teens face. Although both lives are filled with struggle and devastating upheaval, one resists and fights back while the other adapts to changing conditions. "All the Light We Cannot See" is a captivating and moving look at the war from the perspective of two young people trapped by a political clash, and deadly hostilities that bring tragedy and heartache. It's well worth reading and I highly recommend it.
Date published: 2014-05-18

– More About This Product –

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

by Anthony Doerr

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 544 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.7 in

Published: May 6, 2014

Publisher: Scribner

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1476746583

ISBN - 13: 9781476746586

Read from the Book

All the Light We Cannot See Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle Marie-Laure LeBlanc is a tall and freckled six-year-old in Paris with rapidly deteriorating eyesight when her father sends her on a children’s tour of the museum where he works. The guide is a hunchbacked old warder hardly taller than a child himself. He raps the tip of his cane against the floor for attention, then leads his dozen charges across the gardens to the galleries. The children watch engineers use pulleys to lift a fossilized dinosaur femur. They see a stuffed giraffe in a closet, patches of hide wearing off its back. They peer into taxidermists’ drawers full of feathers and talons and glass eyeballs; they flip through two-hundred-year-old herbarium sheets bedecked with orchids and daisies and herbs. Eventually they climb sixteen steps into the Gallery of Mineralogy. The guide shows them agate from Brazil and violet amethysts and a meteorite on a pedestal that he claims is as ancient as the solar system itself. Then he leads them single file down two twisting staircases and along several corridors and stops outside an iron door with a single keyhole. “End of tour,” he says. A girl says, “But what’s through there?” “Behind this door is another locked door, slightly smaller.” “And what’s behind that?” “A third locked door, smaller yet.” “What’s behind that?” “A fourth door, and a fifth,
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From the Publisher

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).

About the Author

Anthony Doerr is the award winning author of The Shell Collector, About Grace, Four Seasons in Rome, Memory Wall, and the new novel All the Light We Cannot See. Doerr's fiction has won four O. Henry Prizes and has been anthologized in several prestigious anthologies. He has won the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize, the Rome Prize, the New York Public Library's Young Lions Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, the National Magazine Award for Fiction, three Pushcart Prizes, the Pacific Northwest Book Award, three Ohioana Book Awards, the 2010 Story Prize, which is considered the most prestigious prize in the U.S. for a collection of short stories, and the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, which is the largest prize in the world for a single short story. His books have twice been a New York Times Notable Book, an American Library Association Book of the Year, and made lots of other year end "Best Of" lists. In 2007, the British literary magazine Granta placed Doerr on its list of 21 Best Young American novelists.

Editorial Reviews

“Sometimes a novel doesn’t merely transport. It immerses, engulfs, keeps you caught within its words until the very end, when you blink and remember there’s a world beyond the pages. All the Light We Cannot See is such a book… Vibrant, poignant, delicately exquisite. Despite the careful building of time and place (so vivid you fall between the pages), it’s not a story of history; it’s a story of people living history.”