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All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by…

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel (original 2014; edition 2017)

by Anthony Doerr (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10,409646428 (4.3)646
Marie-Laure has been blind since the age of six. Her father builds a perfect miniature of their Paris neighbourhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. But when the Nazis invade, father and daughter flee with a dangerous secret. Werner is a German orphan, destined to labour in the same mine that claimed his father's life, until he discovers a knack for engineering. His talent wins him a place at a brutal military academy, but his way out of obscurity is built on suffering. At the same time, far away in a walled city by the sea, an old man discovers new worlds without ever setting foot outside his home. But all around him, impending danger closes in.… (more)
Title:All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel
Authors:Anthony Doerr (Author)
Info:Scribner (2017), Edition: Reprint, 544 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (2014)


Checked out 2019-04-08 — Due 2019-05-08 — Overdue
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» See also 646 mentions

English (625)  Spanish (6)  Dutch (4)  French (3)  German (2)  Danish (2)  Catalan (1)  Piratical (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (645)
Showing 1-5 of 625 (next | show all)
I read about a hundred pages but just couldn't get in to it and I realized that if I started it in April and it is now November I probably will never finish it.
1 vote book58lover | Nov 14, 2019 |
I had resisted this book for some time. All the “New York Times bestseller” and the Pulitzer win made me less, not more, inclined to read it. But it is beautifully crafted with wonderful prose and even though it is clear that the lives of the two main characters will somehow intersect, it is not clear until it is almost upon the reader.

So why not 5 stars? It was a story worth telling, but it didn’t somehow seem different enough from other WWII stories, real or fiction. I kept being reminded of the stories within the memoir, “The Hare With the Amber Eyes”.

But don’t let that put you off. It is one of those rarities, a literary book with a good story that has a resolution and closure of the characters and the threads of the tale. ( )
1 vote leisal | Nov 11, 2019 |
What a confusing book, flipping backward and forward between time periods and not being what I was expecting at all from the synopsis; and it’s not as if the Author gradually leads the reader into all this mayhem, he throws them right into it from the very first chapter. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not against the multiple thread novel, as I have reviewed other Authors that use this tactic, and use it well; it was just not the case in the book and, in my opinion did nothing to improve or help the novel in anyway.

The book has two main protagonists from different sides of the conflict that book is set partly in, World War II. I’m not sure if it was me, or I am losing my touch but I really found nothing that make me connect to either of these characters; I didn’t like them at all. In fact the only emotion I had for them was pity that they had been placed in a novel such as this. Yes, it was sad that the female main lead was blind, but did we have to be reminded of it every few pages; and given the amount of miles her fingers walked they must have been nothing but nubs by the end of the book. As to the male lead, given he was an orphan he lacked the zeal and love for the Nazi party that many orphans felt, as they found a ‘family’ at last that needed them.

Thinking that this was a historical novel was the reason I picked it up in the first place, so imagine my surprise when it seemed to turn on its heels and become a fantasy mystery; very strange. In my mind it would have been better if the object of the mystery had been connected with Nazi thefts during the war, rather than some magical and mysterious properties it was supposed to possess. This added to the tediousness I was beginning to feel over the flipping between eras, and just added to my lack of overall enjoyment of this book.

The saving grace for this novel and the reason for the two thumbs rating was the prose. With an elegant pen the descriptions of objects, places, sensations encountered by the senses was just beautiful; it brought to the front of the readers mind how much we take for granted the sense of touch and smell and results in making them experience the mundane on different level in their own lives.

I’m sure there are some readers out there who will totally disagree with my review, but that is the nature of the world and both sides of a coin have to be seen to get a well rounded picture. If you enjoy fantasy, mystery and WWII historical fiction all in one book, this may be a good read for you. If you like to keep your genres separate unless they are skilfully blended together, I would give this a miss. I doubt I will be reading anything else by this Author.

Originally reviewed on: http://catesbooknuthut.com/2014/11/17/all-the-light-we-cannot-see-anthony-doerr/

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
( )
  TheAcorn | Nov 8, 2019 |
Books and films about the Second World War are often about nations: the "good" or "justified" side against the "bad". In my opinion, the best books set in this era capture the decency and humanity that could be found on all sides. This is one such book. ( )
  dsc73277 | Oct 26, 2019 |
Beautiful. ( )
  slmr4242 | Oct 16, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 625 (next | show all)
What really makes a book of the summer is when we surprise ourselves. It’s not just about being fascinated by a book. It’s about being fascinated by the fact that we’re fascinated.

The odds: 2-1
All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr
Pros: Blind daughter of a locksmith meets reluctant Nazi engineering whiz! What more do you want?
Cons: Complex, lyrical historical fiction may not have the necessary mass appeal.
“All the Light We Cannot See” is more than a thriller and less than great literature. As such, it is what the English would call “a good read.” Maybe Doerr could write great literature if he really tried. I would be happy if he did.
I’m not sure I will read a better novel this year than Anthony ­Doerr’s “All the Light We Cannot See.”
By the time the narrative finds Marie-Laure and Werner in the same German-occupied village in Brittany, a reader’s skepticism has been absolutely flattened by this novel’s ability to show that the improbable doesn’t just occur, it is the grace that allows us to survive the probable.
Werner’s experience at the school is only one of the many trials through which Mr. Doerr puts his characters in this surprisingly fresh and enveloping book. What’s unexpected about its impact is that the novel does not regard Europeans’ wartime experience in a new way. Instead, Mr. Doerr’s nuanced approach concentrates on the choices his characters make and on the souls that have been lost, both living and dead.
added by ozzer | editNew York Times, Janet Maslin (Apr 28, 2014)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anthony Doerrprimary authorall editionscalculated
Appelman, ZachNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barba, AndrésTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bosch, EefjeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cáceres, Carmen M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clauzier, ManuelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goretsky, TalCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Immink, WilCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Löcher-Lawrence, WernerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sasahara, Ellen R.Designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stokseth, LeneOvers.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tarkka, HannaKääNt.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vieira, Manuel AlbertoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In August 1944 the historic walled city of Saint-Malo,
the brightest jewel of the Emerald Coast of Brittany,
France, was almost totally destroyed by fire. . . . Of the
865 buildings within the walls, only 182 remained
standing and all were damaged to some degree.
—Philip Beck
It would not have been possible for us to take power or
to use it in the ways we have without the radio.
—Joseph Goebbels
For Wendy Weil
First words
At dusk they pour from the sky. They blow across the ramparts, turn cartwheels over rooftops, flutter into the ravines between houses. Entire streets swirl with them, flashing white against the cobbles.
If only life were like a Jules Verne novel, thinks Marie-Laure, and you could page ahead when you most needed to, and learn what would happen.
Nothing will be healed in this kitchen.  Some griefs can never be put right.
Music spirals out of the radios, and it is splendid to drowse on the davenport, to be warm and fed, to feel the sentences hoist her up and carry her somewhere else.
There is pride, too, though — pride that he has done it alone. That his daughter is so curious, so resilient. There is the humility of being a father to someone so powerful, as if he were only a narrow conduit for another, greater thing. That's how it feels right now, he thinks, kneeling beside her, rinsing her hair: as though his love for his daughter will outstrip the limits of his body. The walls could fall away, even the whole city, and the brightness of that feeling would not wane.
Werner tries to see what Frederick sees: a time before photography, before binoculars. And here was someone willing to tramp out into a wilderness brimming with the unknown and bring back paintings. A book not so much full of birds as full of evanescence, of blue-winged trumpeting mysteries.
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