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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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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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...

other books by Anthony Doerr

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About Grace: A Novel

Paperback|Oct 6 2015

$18.33 online$21.00list price(save 12%)
All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel
All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

Audio Book (CD)|May 6 2014

$36.31 online$47.99list price(save 24%)
see all books by Anthony Doerr
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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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 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
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

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.”