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All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel | [Anthony Doerr]

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

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 12, 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.
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Publisher's Summary

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 12, 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.

©2014 Anthony Doerr (P)2014 Simon & Schuster Audio

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4.4 (928 )
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  •  
    Trustme CO 06-19-14
    Trustme CO 06-19-14 Member Since 2004

    notapundit

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Wonderful Book Deserving a Wide Audience!"

    This book combines vivid characterization with a gripping plot, is beautifully written and it's a thought provoking novel of ideas, a combination that you don't run into very often these days.

    The narrator has a good sense of the material. His natural reading pace is a bit slow for my taste. But, I habitually listen to books at 1.25X -1.5x speed, and it sounded fine at that pace, so that wasn't an issue for me. One of the best books I have listened to for quite a while. Highly recommended!

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Call Me Crazy But... Rogers Park, IL 06-14-14
    Call Me Crazy But... Rogers Park, IL 06-14-14 Member Since 2010

    I Read Memoirs

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "extraordinary book and reading!"
    Would you listen to All the Light We Cannot See again? Why?

    Yes. Every sentence of this book is a gem and deserves to be savored.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The characters gripped me from the start. The plot carried me forward --as well as the flowing prose.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    don't have one


    If you could take any character from All the Light We Cannot See out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    The blind girl, of course.


    Any additional comments?

    Doerr's use of active verbs astounds. Zach Appleman's narration is superb and does this wonderful book justice. I've recommended the book to all my friends and book club.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tammy Millet, Alberta, Canada 06-11-14
    Tammy Millet, Alberta, Canada 06-11-14 Member Since 2005

    Wife, mom of one amazing son, and I have the second best job in the world, working in a bookstore :)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A great historical fiction"
    What did you love best about All the Light We Cannot See?

    I loved that it was a story of a personal human side of the war and not so much about the war. It kind of reminded me of The Book Thief. Also the author did a great job describing things and places so that you felt like you were right there.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of All the Light We Cannot See?

    There were memorable moments that were shocking and then memorable moments that made you smile. I loved the beginning account of Marie-Laure and her dad working at the museum and then later her relationship with her great uncle.


    Which character – as performed by Zach Appelman – was your favorite?

    Marie-Laure


    If you could take any character from All the Light We Cannot See out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    The great uncle because of his great imagination and the fact he has been through so much.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RueRue Orange County, CA 06-08-14
    RueRue Orange County, CA 06-08-14 Member Since 2013

    RueRue

    HELPFUL VOTES
    108
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    112
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    "Worth all the (5) Star reviews"
    Would you consider the audio edition of All the Light We Cannot See to be better than the print version?

    Not better, but equally beautiful. I alternated reading and listening. The narrator did a good job without overacting. The story is also very suspenseful.


    What other book might you compare All the Light We Cannot See to and why?

    I would compare it ( loosely) to "Beautiful Ruins".


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It's a long book and not one to rush through. The chapters are short, the narratives moves between time periods and characters, and it is book that requires attention to see how even small events connect and build toward a larger picture.


    Any additional comments?

    In spite of the length, I was sad to finish the story and say goodbye to the characters.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth St. Paul, MN United States 08-06-14
    Elizabeth St. Paul, MN United States 08-06-14 Member Since 2007

    Fast approaching retirement as a life long oncology nurse. I love family more than anything. I enjoy reading (audio only), movies, travels, paper crafting, photography, gardening and just being alive.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Afraid to Write a "Less-Than-Positive" Review"

    I'm embarrassed and a little afraid to admit I was not a big fan of this book. One reviewer said that if you didn't like it, then you must be jealous of the author. Trust me. I am not jealous. I just have another opinion.

    I thought this was a beautiful story. The characters were all well developed and I really got to know them. I loved that the author chose to write about teenagers and that one of the main characters was blind actually enhanced the book for me. The unbelievable horror of war and how it effects everyone was very well portrayed.

    I have listened to many books that are not linear and usually enjoyed them. This book jumps back and forth in time, place and character over and over again. The narrator doesn't change his voice for the characters, so in the moment it took me to figure out where "we" were now, I would miss something. I do think this probably works better in written format.

    However, the part I didn't like is what most people love and will probably make it win many awards. I found the book too descriptive and too poetic. Like another reviewer said, there were just too many metaphors. I got lost in the sugary details. I didn't enjoy the scientific detail, either. I don't care how many teeth a snail has. For me, it just got in the way. I can't wait until my daughter finishes reading it so I can get her opinion. Plus, even though I listened to the ending twice, I still am not sure what happened to the "stone".

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. L. Thompson Oxford, MS 07-13-14
    G. L. Thompson Oxford, MS 07-13-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Lose yourself in this one!"
    Where does All the Light We Cannot See rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the top 2 or 3.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of All the Light We Cannot See?

    There are so many. It is the author's skills taking you away and making you live the story. So we'll written and so we'll narrated. A home run all around.


    Have you listened to any of Zach Appelman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but I am now looking for more.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MidwestGeek Ann Arbor, MI, United States 07-25-14
    MidwestGeek Ann Arbor, MI, United States 07-25-14 Member Since 2008
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    "Nice story but events disjunctive and pacing slow"

    I liked the concept of the book. Chapters alternate between the PoV of the German boy and the French, blind girl, whose destinies ultimately intersect. Events were not presented chronologically but were also not simply a flashback or two, so it was sometimes hard to follow. After a certain point, the story kind of dragged. I have the feeling that the emotional impact of the book would have been greater if it were shorter. Nevertheless, the painful experience of growing up during the late 30's and 40's comes through clearly. The prose is very good; descriptions are vivid and lifelike. I could have done without the fantasies and dream sequences.
    The narrator did a very good job. I wonder whether I would have finished without it.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Molly-o Seattle 07-14-14
    Molly-o Seattle 07-14-14 Member Since 2007

    English major. Love to read

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I've been waiting for this book all spring!"

    While I have had some good reads this spring, nothing compares to the joy I have experienced in reading this beautifully written book. One of the first things I thought of when I finished it is that I have to start all over again sometime so I can stop thinking about the content and just bask in its exquisite language and imagery.

    I have read numerous books about World War II and the ones I have liked will stay in my memory for a long time. I have not listened to one as good as The Book Thief until this book, however - funny how they both center on a child's perspective. From the thoughtful characterization to the masterful unfolding of the plot, this is a book that cries out for you to download it right away.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda B. San Francisco, Ca 07-04-14
    Linda B. San Francisco, Ca 07-04-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Overly long and repetitious"

    I must join the ranks of those that disliked this book. Although I finished it, I felt it was a labor rather than a labor of love. The narration moved through different periods of time making it confusing to follow. I felt the descriptions were too flowery and forced. Metaphors ran rampant. Too many dream sequences.

    If you enjoyed watching "The English Patient", you'll probably like this book.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joel NEWPORT BEACH, CA, United States 08-08-14
    Joel NEWPORT BEACH, CA, United States 08-08-14 Member Since 2007

    Joel Szerlip

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Brilliantly Written, Just Not For Me"

    All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is a beautifully written novel. It's one of the best written novels I've read in the past couple of years. Truly incredible, and yet I could not get into it. No matter what I tried to do I couldn't get into this tragic World War II tale. I tried re-reading parts, I took a break from it, and eventually just decided to push through. You ever read something and know its great but just not for you? That's how I felt with All the Light We Cannot See.

    The novel follows two teens in Germany and France during World War II. Mari-Laure a blind girl in Paris France lives with her dad who works at the Natural History museum. Then you have Werner a young boy who loves fixing/building radios. There stories are told concurrently and for me just never were that interesting. That's horrible to say I know but I just could not get into their tales, their families, or their journey.

    I get that this might make me come across heartless, but for me I was just bored. I finished this book to more relief then anything. I knew the entire time that this was a brilliantly written book but one obviously not written for me.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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