All the Light We Cannot See

A Novel

Doerr, Anthony

(Book - 2014)
Average Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
All the Light We Cannot See
"From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, a stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel 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 within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure's agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall. In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure. Doerr's gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2014
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781476746586
Branch Call Number: FICTION DOERR 2014
Characteristics: 531 pages ;,24 cm


From Library Staff

a blind French girl and a German boy encounter one another in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Two wonderful characters, one who becomes a German soldier, and one a blind girl who winds up working for the French resistance, grow up under the shadow of WWII until their paths converge. This is wonderful, moving and beautifully written.

July. This wonderful novel follows two characters, one of them a young German man whose path leads him to become a soldier, and the other a blind French girl, who winds up doing work for the resistance. Very moving and beautiful written, I think that despite its title, it showed us the light we c... Read More »

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Jan 20, 2015
  • fjvalentin rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

An absolutely outstanding novel. I can't add to what has previously been said by others who have commented, other than to say it is a dramatic blend of the savagery of war with the preciousness of life.

Jan 19, 2015
  • Chapel_Hill_TishaW rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This was an enjoyable, bittersweet story. "All you could have been," a quote addressed to one of the main characters, captures the story's main idea: how much was lost during WWII, as depicted through the experiences of Werner, a German scientist-soldier, and Marie-Laurie, a blind teenager who becomes involved in the French resistance. The two of them share a heartachingly brief connection (indeed, so much in this story touches the heart, including the prose) that results in salvation, though of differing kinds, for them both. I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys WWII-era writings, historical fiction and complicated personal narratives.

Jan 16, 2015
  • mmjeffers rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book is a new favorite. I was completely swept away in the tale which was beautiful and devastating at the same time. I loved the way the story wove in details of natural history, a recurring reference to Audobon's Birds of America and nuggets of beauty from Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Truly marvelous.

One of the best books of 2014, this literary gem set in World War II is a must read. This is one for fans of Markus Zusak's The Book Thief.

Jan 05, 2015
  • mratzel rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

What a wonderful book....very different from many things I've read but enchanting.

Jan 03, 2015
  • madison382 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Even though I enjoyed this book, I was a bit dissappointed, because I wanted more interaction between the two main characters of the book.

Dec 29, 2014
  • leberly rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

A little hard to follow at first, due to the changing time periods, but once you get into the book, it sweeps you into a lovely, devastating story.

Dec 29, 2014
  • blolo rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I was a bit slow getting into this book, but it was very well written and I enjoyed it once I got going. The only thing is (am I horrible for saying this?) I think I’ve just seen to many WWII movies & read too many WWII books over the years, and I’m a bit tired of reading about that period.

Dec 29, 2014
  • MariePat rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is the best book I have ever read! The interplay between the two characters and the time periods made me keep turning the page!

I totally agree with HROPERTZ's comments. This is probably the most disappointing book I've read in 2014. I really do not understand why this was named one of the top books in 2014...must have been a very weak literary year!

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Jun 23, 2014
  • bixby rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

1934-1944 France
A blind girl trying to survive the German occupation and Allied shelling of Saint Malo on the coast of France, a young, reluctant German soldier tasked with finding radio transmissions, and a German officer searching for a diamond which he believes will cure his illness.....fantastic manipulation of characters and events to bring them and the war to an end.


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Dec 29, 2014
  • leberly rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

“But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don't you do the same?”


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