All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony DoerrAll the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

byAnthony Doerr

Paperback | November 4, 2014

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about

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).
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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Title:All the Light We Cannot See: A NovelFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:544 pages, 8 × 5.25 × 1.2 inShipping dimensions:8 × 5.25 × 1.2 inPublished:November 4, 2014Publisher:ScribnerLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:150110456X

ISBN - 13:9781501104565

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Better than the TV series A debut novel about an African-American woman who struggles to salvage the Louisiana sugar cane farm she inherited from her father. Queen Sugar is an unforgettable tale of endurance and hope, the author has created a sensual world steeped among the cane fields, although the pace can be as slow as a humid bayou afternoon, it’s worth the read.
Date published: 2019-06-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from To the point I loved this little book. It is adapted from a TEDtalk by the author. A must read for all those who wonder why being a feminist matters
Date published: 2019-05-31
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A mixed reading experience All The Light We Cannot See This book covers many perspectives all focused on the same centre point, that added to the writing style of going from 1934 to 1944 in each section it all adds to a fresh take on the occupation of France and the Hitler youth. The way the book is written was different then I was used to, It’s comprised of 13 sections. With a multitude of smaller 1 to 3 page chapters that flip between characters. This matched with the content make for a exciting and overall enjoyable book reading experience. These were my thoughts until the ending of the book; when I read the last two sections I felt like it could have ended much sooner and tied up the loose ends it left. The day I read the last page I was enraged every time I looked at the book because of none finality of the ending. It left the main plot point of the book elusive. The way I would describe it was going up a climb on a rollercoaster and seeing the twists and turns in the distance but then seeing the drop leading to the end and the ride braking on the way down. The themes of the novel are fascinating, as the characters grow and the story progresses some of the main themes that run throughout the novel are the lose of innocence, people being treated as untermensch and growing up into a world at war. The journey of Marie-Laure is the most interesting to me, the journey from small child with a burning curiosity in Paris to a brave blind girl in the occupation of France. It flows very naturally throughout the book and concludes well. She also had many moments of taking a leap towards danger that really shaped who she is and how she approaches future problems and obstacles. Werners character though is a slow build to a satisfying ending. He shows you the way the Hitler Youth were treated. As I said in the first paragraph this book has one fatal flaw, the ending. It’s a conclusion that ruined my reading experience of the book. After reaching a point were I thought an ending was coming soon I looked and saw that there was a significant amount of pages left to read. It dragged on to be a slightly better ending then anticipated but felt empty and unfulfilling. The reason I criticize the ending so heavily is because until it I was inthralled in the world the Author had created. It was a masterfully crafted story that weaved between characters and shifted between times a decade apart. The way all the characters played an integral role in how the story was shaped. What Werner sees and experiences mixed with Marie-Laure’s view of having to leave her home and adjust to a completely different way of life gets you involved in their world. The writing style was a new take that takes getting used to but throughly enjoyable once you are. I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars.
Date published: 2019-02-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful! The writing in this book was so well done, whether the story was good or not I probably would have rated it 5 stars just for the beautiful imagery but the story is also amazing. Maybe it has to do with the fact that one of the characters is blind or maybe it is just Doerr's style of writing but he paints wonderful and dreadful pictures with his words. Highly recommend to anyone who can survive a little heartbreak.
Date published: 2019-02-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! This book got me hooked from start to finish. Don't expect this to be an action packed book, one of the main characters is blind, how much action could you expect. It's more around the characters; their journey and development.
Date published: 2019-01-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Beautiful I really thought that this was a beautiful story and beautifully written. My only ick is the pace. It changed from one character to another so quickly that I had troubles following it and took me half the story to get into it.
Date published: 2019-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! Everyone should read this. "Some people ask: “Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?” Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general—but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women."
Date published: 2018-12-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Just okay I had high expectations of this book and felt disappointed by it. I expected so much more from the story. It didn't captivate me at all and I couldn't wait to finish this book in order to move on to another.
Date published: 2018-11-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from a good historical fiction piece I was so excited to read this, anticipating a great read. It was good, certainly one of my better reads this summer but not great.
Date published: 2018-11-14
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointing I normally love these kinds of stories, but found this one to be slow, drawn-out, and overall, quite boring.
Date published: 2018-11-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Engaging Read This is a great book, I read it within a few days. The story is very captivating and the text is well written. The only thing I found a little distracting was the chapters switch POV and it can take away from the story. The ending isn't a 'happy' ending but it gives closure. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-09-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Moving book, brilliantly written Anthony Doerr's book set in the time of war is one of the best books I have read.
Date published: 2018-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I got lost in this book! I knew that this book was going to be captivating, but didn't know that it would be as excellent as it was! I've read many books of this period, and this is one of the greatest. Filled with emotion, anguish and hope. Hihgly recommend!
Date published: 2018-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great little book Enjoyed this little book and only wish it was longer. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-08-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Interesting This short little read is a very wonderful perspective on feminism. Really enjoyed it and found it very insightful. #PlumReview
Date published: 2018-08-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Very surreal for young girls The only word I can think of to sum up this story is tragic. The death of a friendship is a heartbreakingly cruel part of life, and The Burning Girl demonstrates it rather eloquently. I would recommend every young woman to read this so they can either reflect on the friendships they lost, or cherish the friends they’ve kept.
Date published: 2018-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing! I've been reading only non-fiction for the last few years but saw that this book came with a lot of good reviews. I gave it a shot and finished it in one day! I loved each story (minus one, you'll know). #plumreview
Date published: 2018-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved it I'm so glad I decided to pick this book up. This anthology featured well-written, well-developed stories and characters. Machado is definitely someone I will read again. My favourite was "The Husband Stitch", because of how much it surprised me at the end. Highly, highly recommend if you are a fan of horror, feminist stories, the paranormal, and just plain good writing.
Date published: 2018-08-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely unforgettable Beautifully written and researched, this book leaves you in mourning once done. Did not want to finish it but could not put it down. Characters and plot are original and refreshing. Not like any other book you might of read in regards to a WW2 time period.
Date published: 2018-08-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Book I liked this book but not quiet as much as the first and second in the series.
Date published: 2018-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Pick it up! This book was unlike anything I've ever read. Usually I skip books that constantly hop between characters but something about it stopped me from ever wanting to put it down. It was both happy and sad. I appreciate that it ended realistically even though my heart was hoping for a romantic ending!
Date published: 2018-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautifully written story I loved this book. Anthony Doerr has such a beautiful way of writing and the story was incredible and intricate. I found it to start out a little slow, but once I got into it, I couldn't put it down. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-08-01
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not great I liked the way the author captures growing up, her writing changes as the book progresses and the characters get older, but other than that it was pretty boring. No twists in the story and everything seemed pretty arbitrary. Not worth the money
Date published: 2018-07-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thoroughly Enjoyed I thoroughly enjoyed this book.. lol But really, I did! I did have a hard time following the narrative a bit. Not only does each section switch back and forth between the two main characters, it also switches between past and present. I felt very confused a lot of the time because I would only read a section or two at a time. But that was also kind of nice that I could do that. Each section was only 3-5 pages roughly. The ending was my favourite. When it all came together. Stick with it - It gets really good!
Date published: 2018-07-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay The novel is primarily set in France during WWII and is the story of a blind girl hiding a museum artifact from the invading Germans. It also follows a young German boy raised to fight in the German army until his path intersects with the girl's. It was worth reading, but the story line tends to jump around a bit, which made it hard to follow. Also, it was written in a "poetic" style of writing, which isn't really my cup of tea. Overall, I enjoyed the plot line but I wouldn't read it more than once.
Date published: 2018-07-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay The beginning of this book was a bit slow, since it switched pov every other page. About half way i started to get really into it. But all of the build up just kind of stops with a surprise near the end. Kind of disappointing.
Date published: 2018-07-23
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Sloooooow Found myself struggling to get through this book. In fact I had to put it down and leave it behind. I might consider picking it up and trying again at a later date but for now I could not motivate myself to get through it. I found myself skimming the story of the young girl and only wanting to read the story of the boy. I often struggle reading books with 2 different narrators, so it does not surprise me that I could not get through this one.
Date published: 2018-07-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Great Read I had to read this book for my English class and it was definitely my favourite across the four years of my high school career. I found myself drawn to this books amazing story, characters, and vocabulary. I'm very glad I got to read it, but sadly, the ending is not what I was looking for. The book still deserved four stars and you should go grab it immediatley
Date published: 2018-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from INCREDIBLE! This book is excellent. Beautifully written, engaging, intelligent. It's a great gift to enjoy yourself and a great book to buy for someone else.
Date published: 2018-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from new genre i dont often read books in this genre but i loved the story and the characters.
Date published: 2018-07-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Example of What Historical Fiction Can Be I loved reading this book! It was given to me for Christmas and I didn't get around to reading it until the summer, but boy am I glad I did! The characters were well fleshed out, and the dual perspective of the two main characters kept you interested. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2018-07-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read! Well written story line and interesting characters. I would recommend this book!
Date published: 2018-07-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A unique, interwoven masterpiece! This is one of my favourite works of fiction over the last decade. Beautifully written - I've read it three times.
Date published: 2018-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful I loved this book! The two main character narratives are woven together in this sort of dreamy way. It started off a bit dry for me but once I got into it I couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2018-07-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An enjoyable read It's not a book I would usually pick (I'm mostly a fantasy/sci-fi reader) but I found it surprisingly easy and pleasant to read. It has a kind of dreamy feel to it, and I like stories that switch between seemingly unconnected characters.Though it's more of a "easy summer read" than "makes you think about it for hours after you finish it", I'm still happy with buying it.
Date published: 2018-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favorite books I would never have chosen to read this book on my own, but it was the selected book in my book club. So glad it was selected, I absolutely loved this book and always recommend it to others. I loved that this was a real true grit story about the world war that wasn't over shadowed by a mushy romance.
Date published: 2018-07-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Emotional but confusing The storyline is a little scattered at times however it's difficult to not sympathize with the characters and become enchanted.
Date published: 2018-07-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Enjoyable This is a good book but the story lost me several times.
Date published: 2018-07-08
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not Worth the Read I am an avid reader and I love historical fiction. I just finished reading The Alice Network and I knew I had this book so I thought I would read it since it's around the same time frame that The Alice Network was in. I did not enjoy. Actually, I didn't even finish it. I found it boring and slow, and honestly pointless. I made it about 350 pages in, of its 530 pages, and I'm still not sure of what the point of the story is. I would definitely not recommend this book, unless you really want to kill time and you have no other possible way of doing so.
Date published: 2018-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from YES This should be required reading for anyone who still thinks feminism is just a buzzword or about women hating men or women over-reacting etc etc.
Date published: 2018-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Required reading if you ever meet someone who says they are not a feminist, just give them a copy of this book. It simply and painlessly lays out the main tenets of feminist, and fights against the many misinterpretations that are commonly vocalized in debates surrounding this tipic. No, Daniel, feminism, as Ngozi Adichie will tell you, is not about hating men. It is about ending the history of oppression which has imprisoned women for centuries, and it is books like this that continue the fight. #plumreviews
Date published: 2018-07-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Short essay adapted from TEDxEuston 2012 I expected the book to be longer, more research based rather than experiential, and more nuanced overall. It is a very general introduction to gender inequality.
Date published: 2018-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from wow could not put it down!!! So moving.. literally had me crying at certain points. One of my new favourite books, and extremely well-written. So poetic!!!!!!!
Date published: 2018-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really enjoyed this book! I loved how the author told the story from two different point of views but it was all connected to the same story. Very well written and the storyline truly captivated me.
Date published: 2018-07-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good read Read the novel a while ago, remember it to be very captivating with several storylines weaved together in a very skillful way... almost like watching a movie with the vivid descriptions of the settings and psychological activities of the characters
Date published: 2018-07-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Captivating Read It took me a little to get into it but once I was in I was so commited. The last 1/3 I couldn't put down. I'm pretty picky with my fiction and I would recommend this for a WW2 fiction read. Appreciate how well written it was.
Date published: 2018-06-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect Porochista Khakpour’s debut, Sons and Other Flammable Objects, was named a New York Times Editor’s Choice, one of the Chicago Tribune’s Fall’s Best, and the 2007 California Book Award winner in the first fiction category.
Date published: 2018-06-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good story.... slow read This book is a fine wine to be savored. The alternate POV the story is told from is remarkable and well written. Overall- well told, interesting and I would recommend. If you arent an avid reader the length might dissuade you.
Date published: 2018-06-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great collection A collection of unique and uplifting stories from different walks of life
Date published: 2018-06-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read This book made me so angry, but it was soo good. This book was about love, loss and how the decisions we make, no matter what they are, can have dire consequences. Very well written and entertaining.
Date published: 2018-06-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read Although the story itself is a little slow, the book is extremely well-written and interesting.
Date published: 2018-06-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Yes we should! I loved this book - it's super short and intelligent, I think I was expecting it to be longer, I actually read it in a couple of hours after work one day, but I'd read it again in a heartbeat. The author is a compelling writer and I recommend watching the Ted Talk she did of the same name!
Date published: 2018-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An amazing read! I initially avoided this book as it was another story that took place during WWII - and I was tired of them. I wish I hadn't. It was well written, moved solidly through the time line and had interesting characters and places. It also gives the story from both sides of the conflict.
Date published: 2018-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Spectacular! Each one of these stories was so carefully crafted and immersive, I loved this collection.
Date published: 2018-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Written like Poetry Love the incredibly short chapters and poignant, poetic writing. The story was original and captivating, and so very beautiful.
Date published: 2018-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love this book so much. Alissa Nutting has a way of making the completely absurd somehow seem totally normal and believable. Her writing is hilarious!
Date published: 2018-06-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from slim1one It was a really good book, not outstanding but really good. I read it in one weekend because I couldn't put it down. The climax of the story could have been stronger, but all in all it was good and I would recommend it.
Date published: 2018-06-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Pretty good memoir This definitely wasn't my favorite book, but then again, I'm not super fond of memoirs, so maybe that's one reason I didn't like it that much. I read it as part of Belletrist, Emma Roberts' book club. Febos does have a way of writing perfect sentences: "Our favorite stories can be like lovers. Make sense to me, we ask them. Make sense of me. Here, fix these hurting parts. And stories do, sometimes better than our lovers."
Date published: 2018-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best books I read this year I was expecting nothing from this book but I actually enjoyed it so much that this book is now one of my favourite. I’m a huge fan of books about Second World War and as the story take place in a city where I went years ago, it was more enjoyable. So I recommend this book.
Date published: 2018-05-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from couldn't finish it I never finished this book. Although it is well written and the intrigue is wonderful for each of the characters, it is hard to keep up with the story. May be a little too hard for people not confortable with English (I'm bilingual) and I think the English level didn't help me finish it.
Date published: 2018-05-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Amazingly written - but slow I felt that the story was written beautifully, and the way the author made Marie-Laure's blindness an absolute integral part of the story - with the description of sounds and feelings - was amazing and unlike anything I have read before. But, the story itself was slow, and I did not find myself reaching for the book as often as I normally would, so that was a bit disappointing.
Date published: 2018-05-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Short and Honest Short read, great concept! Plus Beyonce's beginning of Flawless is from this book!
Date published: 2018-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Extraordinary, can't put down, must read Extraordinary book, couldn't put it down, and would read again and again. Definitely one of my ultimate favourites. The story is woven together with artistry and beauty. Doerr is a master of words, and feelings, and is able to tell a wonderful story with subtly, grace, and literary poignancy. Have already recommended, and each person loved it! Looking forward to reading it again, and enjoying Doerr's poetic language.
Date published: 2018-05-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourite books! It truly is a work of art. Each sentence is beautifully crafted. I grieved a little when I realised I had finished the last page.
Date published: 2018-05-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Mixed Feelings To be honest, I don't know what to think about this book. It was masterfully constructed, entwining the characters and their stories in a way that definitely shows the author is talented. It is subtle, unique, elegant, and tugs slightly at your heartstrings. Despite this, it starts off rather slow, and seems to make the reader want to skip to the parts where the Werner and Marie-Laure actually meet. When they do meet however, it is very brief and somewhat unsatisfactory, though at that point their interactions give off the feeling that they've known each other for a long time. I found that the story, though creative and an interesting idea, was rather lacking in these aspects, yet there's something about this book that made it captivating and difficult to put down. Based off of all this, I think this book is not for everyone, but I'd recommend it all the same.
Date published: 2018-05-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from everyone needs to read this A short but important introduction to feminism. Please read!
Date published: 2018-04-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Beautiful writing, but not a page turner The author has an amazing writing style that brings your mind to life, but the story itself falls a bit flat
Date published: 2018-04-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Extraordinary This book was amazing, it gave great insight into what ordinary people may have gone through during the war and how drastically their lives changed. It was emotional, and both heart-breaking and heart-warming. It was a book where you have to pay attention, as it switches between times and characters - but if you are able to pay attention and keep up, it is extraordinary and worth it!
Date published: 2018-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from tremendous I couldn't put it down, and didn't want it to end.
Date published: 2018-04-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Compelling Doerr has a beautiful way of writing. Such detail and fluidity which really transpire through every page. The book is truly a beautiful and captivating read. Both protagonists are touching ; Marie-Laure is delicate and whitty while Werner is innocent yet very strong. The twist to the story is a page turner and will leave you feeling moments of chaos and suspense.
Date published: 2018-04-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly recommend The wonderfully imaginative plot is filled with suspicion, chaos, and it is absolutely amazing!
Date published: 2018-04-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great book This is one of a few I've read based around the time of recent war in Europe. I enjoy reading stories that revolve around civilians and not exclusively soldiers. Also, interesting characters in this story. I enjoyed it very much.
Date published: 2018-04-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Favourite Book This just might be my favourite book. This book is extremely descriptive, which is wonderful for readers who are interested in very little detail.
Date published: 2018-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful book Wonderful story! It’s not a thriller but there were moments when I held my breath. Very nicely written and the story is good. I couldn’t believe the main characters just parted like that, but it’s not a disappointing end.
Date published: 2018-04-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it This book was absolutely amazing. It was a great story and commentary and left me thinking when it was over.
Date published: 2018-04-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eloquent and Thought Provoking A great introduction to what it mean to be a feminist. A must read for both men and women.
Date published: 2018-03-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Keep this on your coffee table An incredibly important book. I want to gift this to every woman/identifying woman, of all ages.....actually, i wanted to gift this to ALL genders. It's beautiful. It's strong, and it's a necessary need. Read. This. Book. Many know her (or perhaps don't know her but have HEARD her writing) from a previous Beyonce album and in the song "Flawless". This author needs recognition, and she needs to be called by her name for this work is moving and SO important.
Date published: 2018-03-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great intro A short but important introduction to feminism. Please read!
Date published: 2018-03-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING Collection, Great for fans of Karen Russell & Katherine Dunn Peculiar, poetic, queer--amazing stories (the first and second were standouts), very very very entertaining and captivating read. Highly recommend, especially for fans of Russell/Dunn. Hoping for a novel next!
Date published: 2018-03-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful read Captivating and really moving story! Well-written and a beautiful story
Date published: 2018-03-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Short but Important This book would especially be good as an introduction to feminism, but even for those well acquainted with it, I think it's a good read. If you've heard the talk before then you know what to expect but it's' still nice to have it in a form of a book.
Date published: 2018-03-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Introduction to what Feminism is! It's a short read but worth totally worth it! Adichie offers her experience and reasoning why we should all be feminists. It's nails the necessity of this movement!
Date published: 2018-03-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Touching, captivated me. Loved it, enjoyed the read, and the speed. Recommended it to others. Was sad to see it end.
Date published: 2018-03-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Refreshing Read This book is small but mighty, it is well written without being pushy. Great read, I would recommend to all (feminism is not just for women).
Date published: 2018-03-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Ms. Adichie gives great insight into why she is a feminist and why feminism benefits us all. Inspired to read more feminist literature.
Date published: 2018-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Oh So Good! This novel took 10 years to write and it shows. The attention to detail, character development and plot evolution is astounding! I have recommended this novel to everyone I know. The story is exquisite.
Date published: 2018-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read! This is one of my favourite books of all time, I've lost count of how many times I've read it. I love the style of writing, you will not be able to put it down.
Date published: 2018-03-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Its a beautiful book my friend recommended this book to me and I loved this book. Its a well written book and recommended to all
Date published: 2018-03-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful perspective Refreshing perspective. Reads like a conversation with friends. Adichi has the ability to tell stories and teach while being a friend !
Date published: 2018-02-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Could read again and again! Great quick essay chockful of interesting points and anecdotes relayed by the author in a relatable tone.
Date published: 2018-02-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Short and personal This isn't an argument, so much as a collection of personal thoughts and impressions on the topic of feminism.
Date published: 2018-02-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful and Captivating! This story will break your heart into a million pieces but then make you feel as if you've just be enveloped in a warm hug. It's beautifully written and shows unique perspectives (whether ugly or hopeful) of an awful time in human history.
Date published: 2018-02-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A beautiful war story The intertwining of stories from different sides of the war front tells a new story of humanity during war. The back and forth between characters allows the reader to fall in love with each character forgetting what side they are on during the war!
Date published: 2018-02-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it A short and simple book outlining the most important aspects of being a feminist. I loved how she articulated everything.
Date published: 2018-02-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read!! I noticed this book on a post on Chapters instagram page and I'm glad I picked it up. this book was a funny, educational and well written read. this made me re think about what feminism is and being a feminist is.
Date published: 2018-02-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It was just ok The story was fantastic, but it dragged on. It was just ok.
Date published: 2018-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great, quick read! Gets the message across in a very concise way! I would like to read something else by the author as I felt this was just a taste.
Date published: 2018-02-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good! Not as good as the first one, but still good. Bard still keeps her same style of writing, light and easy but not boring.
Date published: 2018-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Smart, Funny, Relevant <blockquote>Some people ask: "Why the word <i>feminist</i>? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?" Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general-but to choose to use the vague expression <i>human rights</i> is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women. That the problem was not about being human, but specifically about being a female human. For centuries, the world divided human beings into two groups and then proceeded to exclude and oppress one group. It is only fair that the solution to the problem acknowledge that.</blockquote> This was my first read of 2018 and I hope <i>We Should All Be Feminists</i> sets the tone for the year ahead, not only in books but in culture, politics, and the world at large. Though this essay isn't new, it is still smart, funny, engaging, and, for better or worse, relevant. The logic of Adichie's argument is powerful and personal and flows in such simple and straightforward terms that the conclusion at which she arrives - that, spoiler alert, we should, men and women alike, all be feminists - seems, in the best way possible, obvious by the end.
Date published: 2018-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Powerful Read A great book on the importance of feminism in all societies and definitely recommended for anyone (man or woman, young or old)!
Date published: 2018-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Will read again! Loved this book! Beautifully written. Will definitely read it again.
Date published: 2018-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love this book! bought this book a few months back and have read it several times. Wise words written by a wise woman. Great read!
Date published: 2018-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Beautiful Read! This book is simply stunning - lovely, poignant writing, compelling characters, and a magnificent weaving of plot. An exquisite read that I absolutely loved!
Date published: 2018-02-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Work of Art Anthony Doerr is like a poetic scientist in this book. Deeply Touching and Highly recommended.
Date published: 2018-02-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic! Short, but sweet. Really gets the message across with great little examples. Everyone should read this!
Date published: 2018-02-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Powerful! A must read. I can not recommend this book enough!
Date published: 2018-01-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Adichie eloquently and simply talks about the importance of feminism, and why it's more than just a human rights issue. Great read!
Date published: 2018-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Magical! The town, the circumstances and the beauty of the written word in this book make it so magical. So many intricate details and riveting imagery gave me, as the reader, a real sense of the place and the people (a movie reel in my mind). Might need to visit this town - it's on the bucket list.
Date published: 2018-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from absolutely stunning I started this a while back and never got into it, but when I started it again a couple weeks ago I couldn't put it down. Some places are a little slow but I don't think that's a bad thing in this book. Overall, I'm so glad I purchased and read this novel. Doerr really has a way with words. Beautifully written.
Date published: 2018-01-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great An interesting read. I actually saw the TEDTalk associated to the book.
Date published: 2018-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another hit! I enjoy reading Adichie's writings. This one is definitely another enjoyable and eye-opening read.
Date published: 2018-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING I truly recommend this book to anyone is looking to get more insight on what is means to be a feminist.
Date published: 2018-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Genuinely loved this book Doerr wrote this in a way that really enabled me to feel what the characters were feeling. I didn't want this book to end. A sad, great read.
Date published: 2018-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A good Read I got this book because of it's popularity and it was intense in all the best ways. It was also sad and tragic and an overall good read. Would recommend!
Date published: 2018-01-20
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Disappointing I was excited to read this as it has been getting a lot of praise but was left disappointed. There were maybe two stories that I enjoyed reading while the others were either really boring or just alright.
Date published: 2018-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Profound I borrowed this from the library and after I finished reading it, I went out and bought my own copy. It is one of the most riveting and emotionally profound books I've read in a long time. The writing is beautifully descriptive and moving. The plot starts out a little slow and simple - two children with completely different upbringings, growing up in totally different worlds. The characters are very well developed. You follow their stories back and forth, during different years/stages of their lives, and eventually it all converges into an incredible, fateful climax. Pick this one up, you will not regret it!
Date published: 2018-01-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Give it a chance I found it started out a little slow, but stick with it past the first 50 or so pages, and you'll be glad you did!
Date published: 2018-01-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Too much hype for me I wanted to love this book but I just couldn't get invested in the story or the characters. Still, it wasn't awful, just meh
Date published: 2018-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A classic to be read again and again This is a classic, to be read again and again. It is a Pulitzer Prize winner, which will come as no surprise to those who have read it. Beautiful story, poignant time and place, makes you believe in the goodness of mankind in a dark hour. It inspired us to go to Saint Malo on our summer holidays.
Date published: 2018-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant and Original I loved these stories. I've never read anything like them. So queer, so feminist, so wonderfully odd and unique. I highly recommend!
Date published: 2018-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must Read This book was absolutely amazing! I loved the characters and their development; this story is about a blind girl living in France who must move from one city to another to live with her uncle because of the war. Her father has built a scale model of her home so that as she grows she can learn about her surroundings. Once they move, he again builds another model for her, within this model lays a great secret which must stay hidden from the Germans. In a twist of events she befriends a German soldier and again in another twist they are separated until the sister of the soldier is able to contact this French girl once she grows up into a woman, mother and wife.
Date published: 2018-01-03
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Would not recommend I was excited to read this collection after seeing so many rave reviews online and from people I know. However I struggled just to finish. While there are some interesting themes, the book is dominated by "Especially Heinous" which was just seemingly random chaos that never chrystalized into any sort of point; it was just nonsense. I didn't get it.
Date published: 2018-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved it! Very well-written. Slow at first, but picks up towards the middle. Heartbreaking/bittersweet ending, left me feeling empty and full at the same time. Great summer read, would highly recommend.
Date published: 2017-12-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly Recommend I loved this book. The characters were wonderful, the plot was interesting, and I breezed through it (I think that I read it in 4 days - mid work week!). I also really liked that it was set during WW2, but did not revolve around the common themes of that time (Nazis, soldiers at the frontlines, etc). However, I can see how some people might find it boring. I am a big fan of books that are "just" stories - no giant mysteries, no massive quests, no chases, etc. This book focuses a lot on storytelling, and the characters. The plot is interesting, and there are twists, but the book is character driven, more so than action driven. My fiance, for instance, loves mystery and action-fantasy books - when I was talking to him about this book he legitimately grimaced. So, I think that depending on the types of books you like, you'll either love this book or find it very mediocre...but I doubt that anyone would hate it! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-12-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A new favourite This book is so carefully and beautifully written. I couldn't put it down and can't wait to read it again.
Date published: 2017-12-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful book I could read this book over and over. It was captivating and touching. A bittersweet story. He really takes you on their journey. A must read.
Date published: 2017-12-28
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Couldn't get beyond Chapter 2 :( I bought this because I was sure I'd love it...and because it's been my experience that Heather doesn't often disappoint in her recommendations. I struggled with this one. I wanted to push through and read it especially since it cost me $, but I absolutely could not get beyond the first few pages. It just didn't captivate me.
Date published: 2017-12-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this book Very well written and moving story.
Date published: 2017-12-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it I bought this for my mother-in-law and read it myself. It's not a straight chronological story, so be mindful of that. Nonetheless the story was amazing. You feel so invested in their journey's.
Date published: 2017-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Throughly enjoyed reading this. Took a few chapters to get into this story, but by the end it was such a heartbreaking story. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-12-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it I was engrossed in the story.
Date published: 2017-12-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Characters! This book brought something new to the WWII genre. Through characters Werner and Marie-Laure, readers get a look at the devastation of war, the strength of survival and hope, and the necessity of small reprieves
Date published: 2017-12-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Eerie The stories of Her Body and Other Parties were, for me, a mixed bag. Whilst reading them, I vacillated wildly between being fascinated and being incredibly confused. The stories which elicited the former were "The Husband Stitch," "Real Women Have Bodies," and "Eight Bites." I thought these three were by far the strongest of the collection, both in terms of their thought-provoking commentary and their eerie execution. (Also, 5 stars for that title alone. Hadn't realized title-writing was a craft until I read the glorious title that is Her Body and Other Parties. It's a spot-on encapsulation of the collection, too.) As for the rest of the stories—particularly "Especially Heinous" and "Mothers"—I was lost; they just completely went over my head. I would've liked to enjoy this collection more, as I had high hopes for it, but having finished it, I find that it hasn't really left much of an impression on me. Eh. Not the most exciting review, I know, but it wasn't the most exciting reading experience either.
Date published: 2017-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic read Such a beautifully written story, and Marie-Laure's perspective engaged me in an unfamiliar way, adding to the atmosphere as well as building tension in the narrative. One of my favorites that I've recommended to many.
Date published: 2017-11-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good (not great) read This book is pretty good, but not great. The story is interesting and heartbreaking, but it just didn't suck me in as much as I expected it to.
Date published: 2017-11-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good (not great) read This book is pretty good, but not great. The story is interesting and heartbreaking, but it just didn't suck me in as much as I expected it to.
Date published: 2017-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceptional Read I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Well written, an excellent tale of two stories intertwining. Found it hard to put down and wanting to pick it back up when I did!
Date published: 2017-11-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from beautifully written A poignant story that was well worth reading. I highly recommend this book.
Date published: 2017-11-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable read. This book was a bit harder to grab my full attention in the beginning, but when I got into it it was hard to put it down. I have only recommended this book and still captivated by the stories throughout this read. #plumreviews
Date published: 2017-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating! One of the most beautiful books I have ever read! This is my favourite time in history to read about - this book brings it to life in the most captivating and wonderfully written ways! I couldn't put it down!
Date published: 2017-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best book I've Read in a Long Time I love this book, and fully intend on reading it again! Incredible writing, beautiful plot, all around gorgeous
Date published: 2017-11-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from <3 Short, simple, personal, nuanced.
Date published: 2017-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really enjoyed this Pretty taken aback with some of the negative reviews here because I loved this book. I found her depiction of adolescence to be pretty bang on and I was actually intrigued by the way she avoided directly detailing what had caused Cassie to spiral. This is how these things happen......friends drift, secrets are kept and it can be hard to tell what exactly happened. I also found Messud's writing particularly beautiful in this novel and often found myself stopping mid sentence to appreciate it.
Date published: 2017-11-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible One of the best books I have ever read! An emotional story that is completely captivating.
Date published: 2017-11-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful This is a beautifully written novel. It is one that I will be re-reading as I feel there were so many depths to the novel that I want to review. I fell in love with the characters and their lives.
Date published: 2017-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Gift!!! This book had me up late at night - could not put it down! One of the very best reads ever!
Date published: 2017-11-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Something everyone needs to read A very quick read but one I think everyone should dive into, male or female. Adichie eloquently and simply talks about the importance of feminism, and why it's more than just a human rights issue.
Date published: 2017-10-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Novel So glad I bought this book. It was so beautifully and elegantly written. Very emotional as well. I loved it!
Date published: 2017-10-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful, Fascinating Story This book had been sitting on my shelf for months before I picked it up. I’d been tempted by it in the past, but I had the distinct impression that it was going to be a heavy read, which had me putting it off time and time again. But I finally picked it up, and I am so glad that I did. Not to say that my pre-reading impression was wrong. This was a heavy book from every aspect. The characters are struggling, the setting is struggling, and it all begins to weigh down on you rather quickly. But that should be expected in a book about the second World War. It’s a slow read, not because it’s boring or that it takes time, but because you need a few minutes every now and then just to sit with what you’ve read and prepare to move on. It took me about two weeks to get through this one. That being said, it is an absolutely beautiful book. The characters are wonderful and you’ll fall in love with them right away. The writing style and structure of the book are fantastic. The way the different aspects of the story weave around each other is a work of art. I can totally see why there are so many awards associated with the novel. The Good Points of All The Light We Cannot See: The formatting of the chapters and how the past and present weave together is absolutely brilliant. The chapters alternate in the time line, and each is then divided into the perspectives of different characters. At first glance, I was worried it would be hard to follow, because there was a lot going on. But Doerr’s got it set up in a way that you never feel lost or confused, because everything fits like a glove. The characterization of both Marie-Laure and Werner is fantastic. Both characters are well developed, and their progression through the years and through the novel feels so natural that they could be the person passing you on the street. When the two finally come together, it feels like letting out a breath you’ve been holding, because you can feel how everything has led them there, despite their very different paths to arrive at that point. The writing is incredibly detailed, metaphoric and beautiful, but never too overbearing. You’ll be able to picture every aspect of the story in your head, and feel like you’ve been there all along with Werner and Marie-Laure. Many books based around wars have a bad side and a good side, and characters divide into one or the other. But this isn’t that sort of book. Yes, Werner works for the Nazis, and Marie-Laure is hiding from them, but you never feel like one of them is right or wrong. They’re just people doing the best they can. Doerr shows beautiful empathy for all the characters in this book, reminding us that even the so-called ‘bad guys’ sometimes are just doing what they need to or know how to do. The Downsides of All The Light We Cannot See: This is not a book you can sit down and read in one go, so it does require some commitment on the part of the reader. Don’t be surprised if it takes you longer than anticipated to get through it. There are no surprises in this book. There’s nothing that’s really going to catch you off guard or change the progression of the story. You can pretty easily predict what’s going to happen. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but maybe a few surprises would have made this book even better. Despite the fact that I loved Werner’s character, I would have liked to see him grow up a little more. We get to see Marie-Laure take on responsibility, question things, try to do more to help, but Werner remains the young boy with the radio for the vast majority of this book. The only real changes we see in him is when he meets Marie-Laure. With what he saw and what he went though, I would have liked to see him grow more. All in all, I really enjoyed this book, and I get the feeling it’s one of those stories that stick with you long after you’ve read it. It’s a beautiful World War 2 story, and I highly recommend that you check it out if you get the chance.
Date published: 2017-10-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful, Fascinating Story This book had been sitting on my shelf for months before I picked it up. I’d been tempted by it in the past, but I had the distinct impression that it was going to be a heavy read, which had me putting it off time and time again. But I finally picked it up, and I am so glad that I did. Not to say that my pre-reading impression was wrong. This was a heavy book from every aspect. The characters are struggling, the setting is struggling, and it all begins to weigh down on you rather quickly. But that should be expected in a book about the second World War. It’s a slow read, not because it’s boring or that it takes time, but because you need a few minutes every now and then just to sit with what you’ve read and prepare to move on. It took me about two weeks to get through this one. That being said, it is an absolutely beautiful book. The characters are wonderful and you’ll fall in love with them right away. The writing style and structure of the book are fantastic. The way the different aspects of the story weave around each other is a work of art. I can totally see why there are so many awards associated with the novel. The Good Points of All The Light We Cannot See: The formatting of the chapters and how the past and present weave together is absolutely brilliant. The chapters alternate in the time line, and each is then divided into the perspectives of different characters. At first glance, I was worried it would be hard to follow, because there was a lot going on. But Doerr’s got it set up in a way that you never feel lost or confused, because everything fits like a glove. The characterization of both Marie-Laure and Werner is fantastic. Both characters are well developed, and their progression through the years and through the novel feels so natural that they could be the person passing you on the street. When the two finally come together, it feels like letting out a breath you’ve been holding, because you can feel how everything has led them there, despite their very different paths to arrive at that point. The writing is incredibly detailed, metaphoric and beautiful, but never too overbearing. You’ll be able to picture every aspect of the story in your head, and feel like you’ve been there all along with Werner and Marie-Laure. Many books based around wars have a bad side and a good side, and characters divide into one or the other. But this isn’t that sort of book. Yes, Werner works for the Nazis, and Marie-Laure is hiding from them, but you never feel like one of them is right or wrong. They’re just people doing the best they can. Doerr shows beautiful empathy for all the characters in this book, reminding us that even the so-called ‘bad guys’ sometimes are just doing what they need to or know how to do. The Downsides of All The Light We Cannot See: This is not a book you can sit down and read in one go, so it does require some commitment on the part of the reader. Don’t be surprised if it takes you longer than anticipated to get through it. There are no surprises in this book. There’s nothing that’s really going to catch you off guard or change the progression of the story. You can pretty easily predict what’s going to happen. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but maybe a few surprises would have made this book even better. Despite the fact that I loved Werner’s character, I would have liked to see him grow up a little more. We get to see Marie-Laure take on responsibility, question things, try to do more to help, but Werner remains the young boy with the radio for the vast majority of this book. The only real changes we see in him is when he meets Marie-Laure. With what he saw and what he went though, I would have liked to see him grow more. All in all, I really enjoyed this book, and I get the feeling it’s one of those stories that stick with you long after you’ve read it. It’s a beautiful World War 2 story, and I highly recommend that you check it out if you get the chance.
Date published: 2017-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful I found this was a bit slow moving at first, but overall it was very captivating and well-written.
Date published: 2017-10-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic. Hands down. I'm not a historical fiction person at all, but I absolutely loved this novel. Captivating, and moving. I couldn't put it down!! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-10-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Another great WWII novel So many WWII novels have come out lately, but this should definitely go on the TBR shelf!
Date published: 2017-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating VERY recommended. Please, do yourself a favor and read it. It is one of those pieces of literature that you will always remember. Such a compelling and engrossing read. Once I started reading it I could not put it down. I would always recommend this book.
Date published: 2017-10-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love! The novel has a slow beginning; but if you can make it through the first few chapters, it is a wonderful story that really showcases the simultaneity of people's lives. The author writes in a way that keeps you immersed and interested in the story.
Date published: 2017-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must read Everyone should read this book and by everyone I'm implying men and women. Such a refreshing book
Date published: 2017-10-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enjoyed this novel Compelling story that motivated me to read until the end. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2017-10-21
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Very strange I found this book more weird and random than genuinely funny. Most bizarre was the choice of Dan Chaon who gave one of the featured blurbs on the jacket.
Date published: 2017-10-20

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.