All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

Hardcover | May 6, 2014

byAnthony Doerr

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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).

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All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

Hardcover | May 6, 2014
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$26.50 online $32.50 (save 18%)

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...

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...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:544 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.7 inPublished:May 6, 2014Publisher:ScribnerLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1476746583

ISBN - 13:9781476746586

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Customer Reviews of All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful I loved this book, it was one of the most beautiful books I have read
Date published: 2016-11-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Wonderfully written book. The story was captivating. I am glad that the ending was bittersweet because it would not have been true to life to have it another way. Not always happy but easy to appreciate the story and the two perspectives it gives.
Date published: 2016-11-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heart warming and pure I simply loved this book, the time the author has put into it really shows through the writing. Simply amazing.
Date published: 2016-11-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heart warming and pure I simply loved this book, the time the author has put into it really shows through the writing. Simply amazing.
Date published: 2016-11-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good, but not for me. This is a wonderful story, and it was well-crafted; but it moved a little too slowly for me. It was touching, it was warm, it was...interesting. But I wanted MORE to be happening.
Date published: 2016-11-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A New Fav! This book was captivating, and kept me intrigued the whole way through. Her story is shocking but amazing how she has responded to it and what she has accomplished. Not to mention an X grad!
Date published: 2016-11-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Intense My god was this beautiful
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay Book Found the story to be slow at times...was waiting for something juicy to happen
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from So interesting I bought this book because it seemed pretty good when I read about it. The author's writing style is enjoyable and as a historical fiction lover, this is amazing.
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully Written I just loved this novel. It is beautifully written and I felt like I was part of the story. I could not wait to read each night and learn more about the characters and what would happen next. I highly recommend, especially for people who enjoy historical fiction. Definitely worthy of the Pulitzer Prize.
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful This book is so beautifully written. Would definitely recommend this to any historical fiction lovers.
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read over and over again This was a intricately designed an executed novel. There was no detail unimportant and while the plot may not have been complex, the emotion that it evokes still resonates days after finishing it. This was such a unique story and style of writing, from its characters to its short and punctuated chapters (which made it very convenient to stop and start, especially when the material got emotional). I never thought that I would read a novel about two young lives paralleled against the backdrop of Germany occupied Paris, one a boy joining the ranks of the Third Reich, the other a blind girl growing up in the shelter of her family and the kindness of strangers. I appreciated both perspectives that the author gave to his readers, while not really focusing on the war raging in the background. This novel definitely opened my eyes and made me very grateful to live in today's world.
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hands down one of the best books I've read this year "Consider a single piece of coal glowing in your family's stove. See it, children? Sunlight one hundred million years old is heating your home tonight." I absolutely loved this book! While some other readers found the constant back and forth between "his" and "her" story a bit distracting, I found this gave the story a nice rhythm. The author's writing style is also particularly lovely and there were more than a few sections I highlighted because they were so perfect. A moving story and a page turner for sure.
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from So SO I read this book awhile ago. It had potential to be super interesting based on the summary which is why I picked it up. It wasn't terrible however I was disappointed with it. The story moved slowly and didn't reach its full potential
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book Club Read This book was chosen for our book club and was a great source of discussion about struggles of love and survival in times of war. It had a bit of a fantasy twist, with engaging short chapters.
Date published: 2016-11-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Story This is a stunning book. It's literally prose grabs you, and the story carries you. I highly recommend it. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful A beautiful story, and beautifully written. It took me a little bit to get fully into it, but after the first few chapters it had me.
Date published: 2016-11-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Both the story and language is amazing in this book. It is intriguing and beautiful. Highly recommend
Date published: 2016-11-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Read!! This book was amazing - it had been my #1 favourite since I first read it and I cannot stop suggesting it to others. It is beautifully written and the story itself is captivating from start to finish. The author wrote it very interestingly, with each chapter being shorter than 5 pages each, and creating such detailed imagery you will feel like you are in the novel.
Date published: 2016-11-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome What an amazing book. Not what I expected. What a great read.
Date published: 2016-11-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent! Totally worth a read that was very emotional!
Date published: 2016-11-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully Written I bought this on a whim and I'm so glad I did. It was excellent from start to finish and even though I'm wary of novels set in either of the World Wars, I was glad I bent my rules for this book.
Date published: 2016-11-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Added to the Favourites Collection! A phenomenal book with characters you can really feel. Such a beautiful, sad, happy, poignant story. Looking forward to Doerr's next novel!
Date published: 2016-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book! I'm so glad I read this book. The story is engaging and you really care about the characters!
Date published: 2016-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Whether or not you like historical fiction, it's really difficult not to fall in love with the characters and their story.
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this. I am so glad i bought this book. fantastic.
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pretty Good This book was very engaging at times, but I was quite disappointed with it overall. I loved having the two narrators' contrasting childhood experiences. Both Werner and Marie Laure were well developed, and I thought Jetta, Werner's schoolfriend and foster mom were excellent additions, but I thought the ending fell flat. I think the *spoiler* connection between the two characters should have been either much stronger or entirely omitted. I also thought the scene at then end with the girls did absolutely no justice to Jetta's character. This book reminded me a little of the book thief, but as a much less involved version.
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not for me While the book is well written and moves quickly, I found myself unable to connect with the characters. And the epilogue? Boy, was that unnecessary.
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved This. I absolutely loved this book. I read it so quickly that I was almost sad that it was over. It's touching and a poignant reminder of struggles that many of us have never experienced firsthand.
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read This book was really well written and very enjoyable to read. I would recommend this!
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it Once a year I treat myself to a WW2 book, whether its nonfiction or historical fiction. Glad I came across this beautiful novel. I pity those who couldn't get into it, because I was enthralled, and I loved the ending!
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A unique read This book may be about a well-known subject, World War II, that has been written about countless times but the unique characters present the story through a new light.
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Breathtakingly Beautiful This novel was extraordinarily well written; the imagery was beautiful and captivating, the story lines intricate and carefully crafted. My only critic is that while the rest of the book flowed slowly and smoothly, the ending seemed abrupt. Overall, the book captured my imagination and allowed me to glimpse the world from each of the character’s points of view.
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very well written I really enjoyed this book - a wonderful story and very well written. Would highly recommend!
Date published: 2016-11-20
Rated 2 out of 5 by from This book felt really long. I usually really enjoy World War 2 historical fiction books, but this one I just did not get into. I've heard similar reviews from friends, so I'm not really sure why this book was so hyped up.
Date published: 2016-11-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Absolutely loved it! What a well written, beautiful poignant book. I could picture every tiny detail. Finished it in one sitting! Highly recommend! #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Slow start, but beautifully written This book was beautifully written, but I found that the story took a while to engage my interest. About halfway through, when a few pieces fall into place, I became far more interested in where things ended up. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful novel Beautiful and evocative novel.
Date published: 2016-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I couldn't put this book down!
Date published: 2016-11-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good good read from start to end
Date published: 2016-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Read! I couldn't put this book down. It was a great story from start to finish.
Date published: 2016-11-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Very slow... I found this book to be quite slow and drawn out. There were no surprises nor did I find it to be overly gripping in the way that novels of this genre often are. I would certainly recommend The Nightingale over this book.
Date published: 2016-11-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful Read Beautifully written book with great, interesting characters. I loved reading each protagonist's story and the way the author intertwines them. I would, and have, highly recommended this book, especially if you're interested in life during WWII.
Date published: 2016-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lovely Read This is a beautifully written, if sometimes a little slow, novel. I think the pace suits it down to the ground, it still is one of those books you can't put down. The story takes you in and you wait for the connection to become apparent, and when you see it it is so human. I loved this book.
Date published: 2016-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED I am a sucker for history mixed with fiction! this book was so interesting and how the two protagonists intertwine was very interesting to read
Date published: 2016-11-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Deceptively good I wasn't drawn to this book but am glad I got into it at the recommendation of a friend. Curl up and get ready to be cast back in time. This story surprises and humbles you.
Date published: 2016-11-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from So sad what a great novel
Date published: 2016-11-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting read Great story set in WWII from two very different points of view.
Date published: 2016-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Emotional Story I have read a number of books in the past 2 years since I finished this one and few have come close to this. It's beautifully written and wonderfully emotional. I will continue to recommend this book to family and friends.
Date published: 2016-11-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful Simply stunning book
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Visually evocative writing All the Light We Cannot See is an amazing story of WWII told from the perspective of two young people, living in Germany and occupied France. As their paths converge, questions of how we face the unspeakable, how we find our way in a world turned upside down and how we continue in the face of loss are asked. The author skillfully fold the reader into the story as the story, told in two persons and moving back and forth across time unfolds and we are left to answer these questions for ourselves as the two young protagonists attempt to answer them for themselves.
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Pulitzer Winner for Those Daunted by Pulitzer Winners If you are looking to embark on an award winning read, but are daunted by a book's length, this is one could be completed over weeks in the minutes before sleep snatches you up. This big, beautiful WW2 novel dazzled everyone in 2014, took home the Pulitzer in 2015, and while I enjoyed the book, it didn't quite live up to the impossible hype machine that I followed before my reading. This isn't to say that I didn't love the book. Indeed, as far as novels go, you'd be hard pressed to find one that is more meticulously researched, and so vividly brought to life. The book's two leads, Marie-Laure and Werner, are both fascinating characters on opposite sides of the war whose stories span the prewar years, to the relative peace of our present. Opting for an interesting narrative trick, most chapters are only 2-3 pages. Some are longer, some are shorter, but each chapter switches the perspective between the two aforementioned leads or the other characters who populate these 500-odd pages. This makes for very quick reading, or as the ideal pick-up and read for short bursts. While I admit to some WW2 fatigue in terms of setting and storytelling, All the Light We Cannot See sidesteps the typical WW2-narrative by having a strong focus on character and, surprisingly, science. Werner's brief feats of engineering virtuosity amidst the rise of a Nazi Germany, provide a reprieve to the reader and the character as they witness innumerable horrors. Marie-Laure, by contrast, is imbued with an infectious optimism despite her blindness. The way in which her passages are described truly provide the feeling of living as a person with visual impairment. When Marie-Laure is discovering the wonders of the natural world as the terror of war encircles her and the ones she loves, there too is light in the darkness. Though I was never enthralled by this book as I have been by other Pulitzer-winners, All the Light We Cannot See is undeniably a masterpiece. The characters are well developed throughout the novel, the settings are lush with expository passages that help entrench the reader in Marie-Laure's sightless world, and is ultimately a novel of optimism in a time of doom. I wish I could have enjoyed this book with the love and admiration that so many people have piled on it for the past year. Instead, there were parts I loved, parts that dragged, and there were parts that I thought were quite good. On the whole, it is a book that I'd easily recommend to others, and one that I quite liked.
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Buy this book! I can see why this is winning awards. If you are interested in WW2 historical fiction, please get yourself a copy. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not A Huge Fan This one was decently written, but I really did not connect with parts of the story/ the characters...
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great It was a great story but I found it slow at times. It was very unique and personal so there was a lot to learn from it
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lovely I loved this book. It was the first time in a while I couldn't wait to get a free moment to read.
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Touching story This is a very well written touching story, a must read.
Date published: 2016-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully Written Once you start, you cannot put the book down. The characters feel so real that you'd think they would be someone's ancestor and that it actually happened to them. The author did a fantastic job is the dual point of views, as you get to see thoughts someone who was respected in Nazi Germany and someone who is on the run from Nazi Germany. Although it starts out confusing, the pieces of the puzzle makes sense in the end.
Date published: 2016-11-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thoughtful Read Doerr does a brilliant job allowing the reader to visualize a Paris set pre and post WWII. Playing with themes of hope, courage and love overcoming hate, we remember that even through the most challenging of times where compassion seems almost non-existent, light always shines through over darkness.
Date published: 2016-11-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautifully Portrayed Absolutely beautifully written; even with the two adjecent characters and their story line it is easy to grasp the feelings of the characters as they grow as individuals. Captivating! Extraordinary!!
Date published: 2016-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely captivating The beginning was slow, but it quickly sped up tempo once the story took place (and it was rather soon). The characters are lovable and quirky and you wish for them to stay safe throughout the book and survive the horrors of war. Doerr's descriptions are beautiful and captivating. You will be completely wrapped up in this book and its characters. Even after the last page, you might still find yourselves thinking back to this book. Highly recommend reading! (even if you might not be a fan of historic fiction)
Date published: 2016-11-12
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Just okay #plumreview The characters were interesting but the story move slowly. It was not as good as I expected.
Date published: 2016-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book Well written novel.
Date published: 2016-11-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great story. Still thinking about this book weeks after reading it: the true mark of good writing.
Date published: 2016-11-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read #plumreview This was a good read. I am very picky when comes to this time period though. Hard to get going but then gets good.
Date published: 2016-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read! This was a great book.
Date published: 2016-11-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Still deciding It started off a bit slow for me, so I never fully could get into it... but I am definitely willing to give this book another chance!
Date published: 2016-11-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Captivating! I really enjoyed the premise of this book, I really like historical fiction and the approach the author took was really interesting! The story is told in multiple perspectives from different sides of the war and different times. One perspective was a blind french girl. Doerr is very descriptive and the characters likeable. There were a few moments where the story slowed down and was a little hard to dive back into but it is worth it! Persevere! It is so worth it, the story is heartbreaking at moments and other times heart warming because of the endearing characters!
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Breathtakingly beautiful What an amazing read. Can't put it down. The descriptions and emotions portrayed throughout the story make you feel like you're standing right beside each character and experiencing their journey as it unfolds.
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good Read but Slow so Not Great Certainly a captivating read for the most part BUT there were certainly a number of time it seemed to drag on for me. Extremely well-written & touching but there were chapters it just drug on. I would still recommend anyone to read but to be forewarn of the speed.
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very good A very interesting story of a blind girl and a young German soldier. Definitely not the usual type of story one expects. I was fascinated by how the girl was taught by her father how to find her way around.
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well done!!! A fantastic piece of fiction with a moving and enthralling story. I would read it again. It would make for a great movie!
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Didn't love it. I didn't like this book. Maybe I will give it another shot but until then, I wouldn't recommend it.
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Kept me Guessing! I loved this book from start to finish, it was fast paced (mostly), had some really great plot twists and raw emotion spilling from the pages! Must Read!
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really Nice Store A nice story about WWII. I liked how the author wove the different characters' stories together. I did find that the last few chapters were a little unnecessary, but overall a really great story!
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Story I loved this book. Would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading WW2 related books.
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Could not put this down! I honestly, don't read the genre at all, but this was recommended to me and i finished it in two days, because it was so captivating. Each chapter is short but very engaging. I was so emotional attached to these characters that this book put me in a reading slump after finishing it. The development is amazing and I learned so much about other aspects of Hilter's reign that I wasn't familiar with before. Honestly, one of the best books i've read.
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read. I read this book last year during a phase where I read many WW2 related books. This is my second favorite WW2 related book. Great story. I was hooked. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply Beautiful I cannot recommend this book enough. If you enjoy war-time reads, if you liked All's Quiet on the Western Front, you will love this book. Heartbreaking and beautiful.
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Touching story A beautiful story, a little slow getting into it but worth the read
Date published: 2016-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Touching beautiful story It's not often I find a book like this that shines because of the author's writing style. The characters are developed well and was a story very unique. This is a great beach-read. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully written This book is beautifully written and brings together two very touching stories seamlessly. This book had slid into my list of top 10 favourite books.
Date published: 2016-11-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Recommended for summer! I really enjoyed this book. It seems like a long read, and not because of the page count. I feel as though it could have ended a bit sooner, and it can be quite descriptive for some readers.
Date published: 2016-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Magnificent One of the best well-written books I've read in years. While I agree with many of the previous reviewers who state the story is a little slow, the language of the book is truly beautiful. I've read this book twice and each time found new lines within the story that truly resonated with me. A must-read.
Date published: 2016-11-03
Rated 2 out of 5 by from All the Light We Cannot See It was a beautiful overall story, but very slow and hard to get into. It took me a while to get through the book because I couldn't seem to focus and became a little bored.
Date published: 2016-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great read!! A beautiful story! I absolutely love this book.
Date published: 2016-11-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hauntingly Beautiful! This book completely blew me out of the water! It's one of my favourite books of all time - considering the author spent nearly a decade researching this book, it's no wonder you feel as though you're back in the war.
Date published: 2016-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it Excellent book. Very well written
Date published: 2016-10-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read! Bought this a while back, never got the chance to read it right away. But when I did I couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2016-09-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from LOVED After getting past the first few chapters i could not put it down. Beautifully written.
Date published: 2016-09-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully Engaging This book was recommended to me by a coworker and I was hesitant to begin it because I don't often read historical fiction. However, Doerr's writing was so elegant and captivating that I honestly I believe he could write anything and I would enjoy it. His ability to weave together stories about different people with opposing perspectives was impressive. Would highly recommend, even if this isn't your genre of choice. It did start out a little slow, but picked up pace quickly.
Date published: 2016-08-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book! I really enjoyed this book, and found it to be well written, however some parts were a little dry. I still recommend it.
Date published: 2016-08-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Captivating An interesting look at the lives of everyday people during WWII.
Date published: 2016-08-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great read I really enjoyed this book.
Date published: 2016-07-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful This book was amazing and beautifully written. The way the author wrote was very descriptive to the point of closing your eyes and imagining what she wrote and every detail of it.
Date published: 2016-07-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Slow beginning but an excellent read. I found this book to be slow at first but then quickly became captivating. Author was very descriptive but not in a way that is boring and excessive. The quick chapters allowed me to divulge at my own pace. Would recommend.
Date published: 2016-07-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful read beautifully written, sad but uplifting, a different take on the WW2 theme.
Date published: 2016-06-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting read The book was an interesting story ,portraying life in France during the occupation by the Nazi's .intertwined was the story of a young boy and girl from different backgrounds growing up ,so to speak .while danger and pressure to perform under duress is a constant factor. Good character development and an enjoyable book to read. How sight comes into play is so very interesting and takes on a whole new meaning as a title
Date published: 2016-06-10
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Boring! I really did not enjoy this story. Full of excruciating, insignificant descriptions, that lead to nothing. I skipped parts just to reach the end.
Date published: 2016-06-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Really good read but... I would like to start by saying I thoroughly enjoyed this book but like some of the other reviews, I did get a little bored in some parts. I also feel that this book would've been better if it were in chronological order instead of jumping back and fourth through time. The characters were all amazing and the author did a great job of describing Marie-Laure's experiences from her perspective.
Date published: 2016-06-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best book in many years! This book was recommended by the Chapters staff at the cash. The writing was refreshing, totally enjoyable.
Date published: 2016-05-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved! Absolutely loved this book....beautifully written
Date published: 2016-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from excellent wonderfully story,well written ,I enjoyed every bit of it.
Date published: 2016-05-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from oh my goodness This novel, if nothing else, is completely humanising. I loved how it wasn't your typical WWII story, usually involving a Jewish individual or something revolving around a concentration camp, with all respect. Not that those stories AREN'T important, but they've been done a lot before and this was so, so unique from the perspective of a young German orphan boy, who is brilliant, with a bright future and the world laid at his feet when his talents in radio are discovered, and a blind French girl, the daughter of the 'master of keys'. As the reader you learn about the world and what is happening from the French girl's point of view, and her journey from Paris to St. Malo, where we jump back and forth from past to present until the incredible culmination of both characters' stories when they at last intersect on the eve of the bombing of St. Malo. This is mirrored against learning, through the German lad's eyes, the procession of the war from the Nazi's side--his weighing and considering of what is happening, absorbing morality and questions of life in general. What I also like is that the German lad is not the moral hero of the story, at first anyway. Some of these characters did not do great things but you empathise--you want them to be good and live and succeed because it's a reminder that many were lost on both sides, many who did not know at first what would be required of them. Such an amazing examination of humanity and 'herd mentality' at times. I plowed through this hefty story in about two days. Stunning writing, heart-wrenching, heavy topic but my goodness, if you aren't changed by the end. Absolutely worth it, a thousand times yes.
Date published: 2016-05-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully written! Thank you so much for choosing this book as a Heather's pick. I love the way this book was written. The way Anthony Doerr weaved the story from timeline to timeline & from character to character. I loved the relationship between Marie-Laure & her father & the strength he gave her. & the relationship between Marie-Laure & Etienne. Marie-Laure was such an amazing character. I loved the relationship between Werner & Jutta. I felt so much compassion for Werner, I never thought I could feel so much compassion for a German soldier. I will read this book again & again!!
Date published: 2016-05-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Delicate and Smooth Beautiful Delicate and Smooth. One of the best book had in years.
Date published: 2016-04-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Impossible With all the plot jumping it's difficult to get attached to the two main characters in this novel. Not only that, but the speaker as well alternates between past and present events to the point that it becomes difficult to follow. I found this book exhausting and not at all the "richly compelling" read that was promised.
Date published: 2016-04-20
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointing I read this behind all the hype it received, intrigued by the concept of these two unlikely characters becoming friends in difficult times. But it was long, drawn-out, and it missed a huge opportunity for a really epic story. These two characters didn't meet until the very end of the story, which it made it a loss for me. Every chapter, I kept reading thinking "They have to meet soon. I'm getting close to the end, so this twist must be awesome." But no. I finished it thinking, "That's it?" It didn't even leave me with a good feeling afterwards. Disappointing.
Date published: 2016-04-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Difficult to get through While the chapters are very, extremely short, I found this book to be quite boring and difficult to get through. While I'm not a fan of overly long chapters, I found the uber short chapters in this book to be a detriment to the overall narrative structure. Too often the simple short chapters were overly long to describe 1 piece of action in the story, and because of that the character development was almost nil. I think the author won a Pulitzer Prize for capturing the spirit of the time, but the story itself was a slog.
Date published: 2016-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully written If you love the art of words that are crafted well this book is for you. The descriptions of things and places are beautiful. I admit the story itself does move a bit slow but I was so taken by the power of the images the words created. This book is a well crafted piece of art.
Date published: 2016-04-15
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Could not get into this book. Just finished this book and was not a fan at all. Found it incredibly boring. If you want to read a great book about World War 2 pick up The Nightingale
Date published: 2016-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't put it down This was an excellent book that draws you in. I couldn't put the book down since I wanted to keep reading to see where the story would lead. Interesting twists, beautiful story.
Date published: 2016-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from takes your breath away is this a fairytale? from the moment I picked it up, I could not put it down. I am however one of those who loves ready about france, the war, and resisance ..... it has already travelled three cities!
Date published: 2016-04-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful Book This was the first book my new book club chose and I'm so glad we did. Beautifully written and intriguing.
Date published: 2016-03-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Beautifully Written! Great book about WWII. So good that I had to stay up late to finish it.
Date published: 2016-03-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this book This book was very good. I loved the way it threaded everyone's lives together.
Date published: 2016-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such a good read Half way through and not regretting this book choice...such a good intellectual read
Date published: 2016-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved it. Although I am French speaking, I always challenge myself to read English books. This was one of the best well written book and story. I just could not put it down and read it in two days.
Date published: 2016-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I recommend this book This is one of the best novels that I read last year. Excellent writing and a fascinating story. The story has stuck with me and it has been a few months since I read it. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Date published: 2016-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful I couldn't put this book down! The language was lyrical, making the entire story a song I hoped would never end. I highly recommend it.
Date published: 2016-01-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The plot was slow. It was a good read and it had a good storyline but for those who want a greater climax, this may not be the right book.
Date published: 2015-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A new perspective This book took me into the experiences of two young people in particular during WWll but also to the realization of what life might have been like for some Europeans during that war. A touching and thought provoking book.
Date published: 2015-11-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from captivating Beautifully written book that weaves several stories and themes together. Well worth the time and effort
Date published: 2015-11-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best.Book.Ever Doerr writes with skill and each sentence is a gem of the past. The finesse of writing, the perfectly crafted story will move you heart.
Date published: 2015-11-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read Beautifully written. Easy read ans great story telling.yoh immediately get into the book and the characters. Feel like yoh are living the story.
Date published: 2015-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great story I just finished reading this book. Although it was hard for me to keep reading through first 200 pages but I will gurantee you will devour the last 70 pages of this book.
Date published: 2015-10-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from All the light we cannot see Beautifully written, mesmerizing story. Hard to describe. I enjoyed the story very much and will read others by this author.
Date published: 2015-10-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from it more like a poem I think the plot are not really standout, but the writing is one for the most beautiful book I ever read (beside Norwegian Wood and Kit runner). Reading this is like taking a warm shower make you feel clam and cozy.
Date published: 2015-10-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant A French girl and German boy caught in the brutality of WWII. Intrigue and drama in a pool of angst.
Date published: 2015-10-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from BEST BOOK I'VE READ IN YEARS told everyone I know to read it and use for hostess gifts
Date published: 2015-09-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Very powerful
Date published: 2015-09-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A good long read A good read although the story itself was very slow in progression. The book is well written and the story captivating, so I really wished it was better edited. I grew bored so many times and it took me forever to finish it, but I would still recommend it.
Date published: 2015-09-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book A little confusing at the beginning but stick with it. It will grab you so that you can't put it down!!
Date published: 2015-09-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic read The descriptive writing lets you feel the building tension. The reader can visualize the environment through the main characters. Not just a war novel but a study of what could have transpired during those dark years.
Date published: 2015-09-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book I found this to be a great read. Mind you not a quick read, but well worth it.
Date published: 2015-09-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent Book Very well written I read it at a time when I was travelling in the Baltics the book added an interesting dimension.
Date published: 2015-09-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A story with an ending. The stories of the two main characters didn't go along exactly as you would hope. They did however move along a path that was more true to life.
Date published: 2015-08-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I Adored This I purchased this book to get my mind off of things and immediately fell in love with it. It is one of those books that will always stick with you and teaches you many things about the past and wrenches your heart in a number of different ways.
Date published: 2015-08-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from fabulous writing Story starts slowly...deceivingly light breezy read..then Develops into beautifully, masterfully, written work of art. I loved it!
Date published: 2015-08-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Long but enjoyable It's a quite a long book. The first few hundred pages are very slow, and it feels unnecessary. It holds a steady pace, and is still interesting. I found the second half of the book far more exciting, with a faster pace, and delved more into the war too. Overall, a very good read.
Date published: 2015-08-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A long, quality story This is a long book, and you get your money's worth. Well written. Hard to describe it, really. Have to say though that I was disappointed with the ending. All that time for them to come together....
Date published: 2015-07-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I liked it... eventually I found this book really hard to get into. Once I got about a third of the way in, I started to enjoy the plot, but the book never really drew me in. It wasn't the worst book I've ever read, but neither was it one of the best. I also found the ending very anticlimactic.
Date published: 2015-07-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic read Loved this book. How it moved from character to character. Could not put it down. Fantastic read it you like historical fiction.
Date published: 2015-07-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Don't Expect too Much I've wanted to buy this book for a while because the description seemed really interesting, and the reviews were extremely good for it, too. However, I was very disappointed by the time I finished reading the book. The author's writing is beautiful - no doubt about that. If I were to rate solely on his writing, I'd give it a 5. However, it's the content that really upset me. The first half of the novel engrossed me because of where the story was headed and it just seemed amazing. Eventually, though, the book bored me with few moments of suspense. Then came the ending, and I was thoroughly disappointed. I felt like some things happened for no reason whatsoever (I don't wish to spoil what happens) and an alternative could've easily been made. Maybe I was expecting too much, especially because of the reviews and how the beginning of the book was, but even if it wasn't meant to be a fairy tale kind of book, I felt that some events that happened didn't need to, especially because it didn't add to the plot. There were also things that I expected to happen but didn't. Basically, the writing itself was beautiful and I love how everything was described in full detail as if to explain to the blind Marie-Laure, but the ending was disappointing for me because I feel some things could've been avoided/added.
Date published: 2015-06-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A very good read! You will enjoy the journey!
Date published: 2015-06-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read - very vivid Really enjoyed this book - Anthony Doerr captured everything in a most vivid way; and really has a way of bringing the characters' personalities to life. Am hoping to find another read that is as well done as this one.
Date published: 2015-06-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Loved this book! Very well written . The author really brought the characters to life a b day I felt as if I was truly there with them, I empathize many times with the circumstances they were going through . I highly recommend this book!
Date published: 2015-06-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from All the Light We Cannot See This book was beautifully witten. I loved the characters and especially Marie-Laurel as she sees the world as a blind person and also Werner as a gifted electronic and scientific mind.
Date published: 2015-06-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from All the light we cannot See This story was exceptional. The charcters were believable, the setting was in keeping with other stories and historical facts about world war 2, that I have read. That said, both children found themselves in situations that could have happened to anyone, but how they handled it set them apart from others. That both protagonists, started off not knowing what was going on, or even what was happening around them, or how it would affect them, but as time went on, both of them coped to the best of their ability, and ended not only knowing what was happening, but doing their best in their own way to change the outcome in the situations they were involved in. World War 2 was an absolute horrific war that affected many types of people, especially the children who grew up during that time, their perceptions of life were of fear, shortages of everything, and hunger. Nothing in their lives was remotely normal, and what the children in this story did was extraordinary.
Date published: 2015-05-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really Enjoyable Book I really enjoyed this book even though I am not interested in War or Historical type books, really enjoyed the story lines and writing style.
Date published: 2015-05-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it Doerr has created a historic novel that speaks to all through these extraordinary characters. The suspense, and movement of the story kept me entranced. Love and the tragedy of war are so expertly intertwined through the characters' experiences, you can't help but feel compassion for them all.
Date published: 2015-05-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from All The Light We Cannot See So eloquent , elegant and sad. Werner and Marie Laure will be staying with me a while. A unique view of a devastating war and the beauty of simple compassion.
Date published: 2015-05-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from All the Light We Cannot See A thought provoking book, perhaps a little too long with the ambitious high number chaptering scheme, [yet it did help threading the work together] Personally I felt the ending structure was an anti-climax, and sad. Yet that was a truth from a reality of WWII. There is no exclamation of pure joy that the characters could enjoy. And of course the philosophical title makes one wonder about the miracle of light itself, light may not be the natural state of the universe, and when it is illuminated it is because of a violent birth or death of stars [sun] ?
Date published: 2015-05-12
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 Different perspective of everyday events. Most notable for me is perspective that the author brings to small events that we mostly pass by without notice. Like an artist's painting of common things in our lives thereby drawing our attention to things that would otherwise go unnoticed. Every sentence has an enriching charm. Then add an engrossing story line to make for a wonderful book.
Date published: 2015-05-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Historically accurate I liked how the book wove the stories separately until the climax when they all came together. I thought the last 20 pages or so were useless.
Date published: 2015-05-09
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

Extra Content

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, on and on until you reach a thirteenth, a little locked door no bigger than a shoe.” The children lean forward. “And then?” “Behind the thirteenth door”—the guide flourishes one of his impossibly wrinkled hands—“is the Sea of Flames.” Puzzlement. Fidgeting. “Come now. You’ve never heard of the Sea of Flames?” The children shake their heads. Marie-Laure squints up at the naked bulbs strung in three-yard intervals along the ceiling; each sets a rainbow-colored halo rotating in her vision. The guide hangs his cane on his wrist and rubs his hands together. “It’s a long story. Do you want to hear a long story?” They nod. He clears his throat. “Centuries ago, in the place we now call Borneo, a prince plucked a blue stone from a dry riverbed because he thought it was pretty. But on the way back to his palace, the prince was attacked by men on horseback and stabbed in the heart.” “Stabbed in the heart?” “Is this true?” A boy says, “Hush.” “The thieves stole his rings, his horse, everything. But because the little blue stone was clenched in his fist, they did not discover it. And the dying prince managed to crawl home. Then he fell unconscious for ten days. On the tenth day, to the amazement of his nurses, he sat up, opened his hand, and there was the stone. “The sultan’s doctors said it was a miracle, that the prince never should have survived such a violent wound. The nurses said the stone must have healing powers. The sultan’s jewelers said something else: they said the stone was the largest raw diamond anyone had ever seen. Their most gifted stonecutter spent eighty days faceting it, and when he was done, it was a brilliant blue, the blue of tropical seas, but it had a touch of red at its center, like flames inside a drop of water. The sultan had the diamond fitted into a crown for the prince, and it was said that when the young prince sat on his throne and the sun hit him just so, he became so dazzling that visitors could not distinguish his figure from light itself.” “Are you sure this is true?” asks a girl. “Hush,” says the boy. “The stone came to be known as the Sea of Flames. Some believed the prince was a deity, that as long as he kept the stone, he could not be killed. But something strange began to happen: the longer the prince wore his crown, the worse his luck became. In a month, he lost a brother to drowning and a second brother to snakebite. Within six months, his father died of disease. To make matters even worse, the sultan’s scouts announced that a great army was gathering in the east. “The prince called together his father’s advisers. All said he should prepare for war, all but one, a priest, who said he’d had a dream. In the dream the Goddess of the Earth told him she’d made the Sea of Flames as a gift for her lover, the God of the Sea, and was sending the jewel to him through the river. But when the river dried up, and the prince plucked it out, the goddess became enraged. She cursed the stone and whoever kept it.” Every child leans forward, Marie-Laure along with them. “The curse was this: the keeper of the stone would live forever, but so long as he kept it, misfortunes would fall on all those he loved one after another in unending rain.” “Live forever?” “But if the keeper threw the diamond into the sea, thereby delivering it to its rightful recipient, the goddess would lift the curse. So the prince, now sultan, thought for three days and three nights and finally decided to keep the stone. It had saved his life; he believed it made him indestructible. He had the tongue cut out of the priest’s mouth.” “Ouch,” says the youngest boy. “Big mistake,” says the tallest girl. “The invaders came,” says the warder, “and destroyed the palace, and killed everyone they found, and the prince was never seen again, and for two hundred years no one heard any more about the Sea of Flames. Some said the stone was recut into many smaller stones; others said the prince still carried the stone, that he was in Japan or Persia, that he was a humble farmer, that he never seemed to grow old. “And so the stone fell out of history. Until one day, when a French diamond trader, during a trip to the Golconda Mines in India, was shown a massive pear-cut diamond. One hundred and thirty-three carats. Near-perfect clarity. As big as a pigeon’s egg, he wrote, and as blue as the sea, but with a flare of red at its core. He made a casting of the stone and sent it to a gem-crazy duke in Lorraine, warning him of the rumors of a curse. But the duke wanted the diamond very badly. So the trader brought it to Europe, and the duke fitted it into the end of a walking stick and carried it everywhere.” “Uh-oh.” “Within a month, the duchess contracted a throat disease. Two of their favorite servants fell off the roof and broke their necks. Then the duke’s only son died in a riding accident. Though everyone said the duke himself had never looked better, he became afraid to go out, afraid to accept visitors. Eventually he was so convinced that his stone was the accursed Sea of Flames that he asked the king to shut it up in his museum on the conditions that it be locked deep inside a specially built vault and the vault not be opened for two hundred years.” “And?” “And one hundred and ninety-six years have passed.” All the children remain quiet a moment. Several do math on their fingers. Then they raise their hands as one. “Can we see it?” “No.” “Not even open the first door?” “No.” “Have you seen it?” “I have not.” “So how do you know it’s really there?” “You have to believe the story.” “How much is it worth, Monsieur? Could it buy the Eiffel Tower?” “A diamond that large and rare could in all likelihood buy five Eiffel Towers.” Gasps. “Are all those doors to keep thieves from getting in?” “Maybe,” the guide says, and winks, “they’re there to keep the curse from getting out.” The children fall quiet. Two or three take a step back. Marie-Laure takes off her eyeglasses, and the world goes shapeless. “Why not,” she asks, “just take the diamond and throw it into the sea?” The warder looks at her. The other children look at her. “When is the last time,” one of the older boys says, “you saw someone throw five Eiffel Towers into the sea?” There is laughter. Marie-Laure frowns. It is just an iron door with a brass keyhole. The tour ends and the children disperse and Marie-Laure is reinstalled in the Grand Gallery with her father. He straightens her glasses on her nose and plucks a leaf from her hair. “Did you have fun, ma chérie?” A little brown house sparrow swoops out of the rafters and lands on the tiles in front of her. Marie-Laure holds out an open palm. The sparrow tilts his head, considering. Then it flaps away. One month later she is blind.

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.”