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

by Anthony Doerr (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
14,998791311 (4.29)747
"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"--… (more)
Member:woods5402
Title:All the Light We Cannot See
Authors:Anthony Doerr (Author)
Info:Scribner (2014), 531 pages
Collections:Your library
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Work Information

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

  1. 310
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Blogletter)
  2. 202
    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (gypsysmom)
    gypsysmom: Similar locale in that Guernsey and St. Malo were occupied by the German army during World War II. Resistance is also a main theme in both of them.
  3. 101
    The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (LISandKL)
  4. 60
    Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi (cataylor, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Both of these heartbreaking World War II novels cause readers to pine for a happier ending than is possible for the characters. The stylistically complex writing describes the struggles that the characters -- some with physical challenges -- go through to survive.… (more)
  5. 53
    The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These moving, stylistically complex novels reflect on the brutality of World War II and its lingering effects. The characters have diverse backgrounds, some supporting the Germans and others the Allies. Their wartime experiences threaten to ruin their futures.… (more)
  6. 10
    The Great Swindle by Pierre Lemaitre (olyvia, olyvia)
  7. 11
    Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian (cataylor)
  8. 11
    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (sturlington)
  9. 00
    April in Paris by Michael Wallner (GoST)
    GoST: Another novel set in occupied France with a relationship between a German soldier and a French girl.
  10. 00
    A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France by Caroline Moorehead (srdr)
  11. 00
    Evidence of Things Unseen by Marianne Wiggins (WSB7)
    WSB7: Similar overarching theme.
  12. 01
    The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (sturlington)
  13. 01
    The Book of Everything by Guus Kuijer (Othemts)
  14. 34
    Atonement [York Notes Advanced] by Anne Rooney (Steve.Gourley)
  15. 12
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  16. 02
    Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (sturlington)
Europe (47)
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English (758)  Spanish (6)  Dutch (3)  French (3)  German (3)  Danish (2)  Swedish (2)  Catalan (2)  Piratical (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (781)
Showing 1-5 of 758 (next | show all)
“We rise again in the grass. In the flowers. In songs.”

[a:Anthony Doerr|28186|Anthony Doerr|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1417812584p2/28186.jpg]'s writing is unique in the way that it is both beautiful and able to get the point across. Many times I find that authors focus too much on prose and are unable to tell the story simultaneously. However, Doerr can do both.

The novel takes place over the course of years, from the beginning of the war to the end. The two main characters, Marie-Laure and Werner, are very young when the story begins, and we see them as they grow into teenagers.

Marie-Laure is a blind girl living in France with her father, who works at the National Museum of Natural History. Doerr does a great job at bringing their relationship to life. The two of them travel to her great-uncle's house in Saint-Malo where they stay throughout the course of the war. She has a love of shells, which is a reflection of the author's own passions.

Werner is a german boy with a gift for science, particularly radios. He is able to fix them in quite little time. Because of this gift, he is placed in a special school where he is some distance away from his sister Jutta, who is younger than him and quite attached. We can see the effect his going away has on her and how it will later shape her life when she never sees him again after he is assigned to the war.

Reading this book will make you want to know more, and due to the short chapters, you will keep turning the page. Doerr's attention to detail is admirable; he has a brilliant way of telling stories. ( )
  ninaleonidovna | Oct 2, 2022 |
All the Light We Cannot See may be my favorite book this year. I picked it up after reading Anthony Doerr's Cloud Cuckoo Land, sorry that I missed it the first time around. I may have liked it more. Both books are carefully crafted stories, interweaving the voices and experiences of characters. Marie-Laure LeBlanc lost her sight at six years old but has thrived under her father's care. He is a locksmith for the Museum of Natural History in Paris. As the Nazis advance, he and Marie flee to the home of great-uncle Etienne, a recluse who broadcasts old recordings of his dead brother and eventually joins the Resistance. Meanwhile, Werner Pfennig, the German tasked with tracking the broadcasts, recognizes the recordings he listened to in the orphanage on his first homemade radio. Their paths cross in unexpected ways. Along the way, the story does not side step the brutality of the war. ( )
  witchyrichy | Sep 29, 2022 |
It was terribly difficult to connect at first with this book. On page 124 I had a moment but it wasn't until the 300's that I found that sense of emotional investment a great novel brings. It's worth getting there though... ( )
  Martialia | Sep 28, 2022 |
This book has haunting, beautiful prose. It's brimming with metaphors, painting gorgeous images. I didn't want it to end, but I couldn't put it down ( )
  Iqrakhalid | Sep 12, 2022 |
I enjoy Historical fiction and really looked forward to this novel by Anthony Doerr as it was set in a time frame that really interest me. Because I read quite a lot of novels set around World War Two I loved the fact that the author took a slightly different path with his storytelling and that is what drew me to this novel. ( )
  alizaaslam1234 | Sep 11, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 758 (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
Doerr, Anthonyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andersson, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Appelman, ZachNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barba, AndrésTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bosch, EefjeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buckley, LynnCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cáceres, Carmen M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clauzier, ManuelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gewurz, Daniele A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goretsky, TalCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Immink, WilCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kalina, JakubTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Löcher-Lawrence, WernerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malfoy, ValérieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sasahara, Ellen R.Designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stokseth, LeneOvers.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tarkka, HannaKääNt.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Teal, JulieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vieira, Manuel AlbertoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zani, IsabellaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
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
Dedication
For Wendy Weil
1940-2012
First words
Leaflets
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.
Quotations
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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Wikipedia in English (3)

"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"--

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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.
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