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
Through the eyes of children, one of whom saw with her heart, the other with his immense abilities, the saga unfolds. So beautifully written; such a magnificent performance. How I clung to the words, wishing they would not have to reach an end. Yet the ending occurred, as ever must be, I sighed and I smiled warmly, satisfactorily. This book will remain in my memory.
I didn't read the print book. I loved the narrated version.
It was a complete, satisfying, engaging and enlightening book about people caught up in events before, during and after WW2. People lived, died, suffered and survived.
I loved it. However, I might quibble with some lapses in pronunciation of the occasional French and German words and phrases.. OK, full disclosure… I lived in Paris for 3 years and have also spent a fair amount of time in Germany so I may be a bit fussier about pronunciations than the average listener. Still… I really enjoyed listening and didn't want the story to end.
Werner and Marie Laure, the young star crossed protagonists, buffeted by events and circumstances.
There are many many reviews of this wonderful book available, so no need to add much. I simply loved it. It was a complete, satisfying, engaging and enlightening book about people caught up in events before, during and after WW2. I felt I knew the characters and could feel their emotions.
I just loved it, such well crafted writing. The plot is intriguing, truly surprising and tight as a jigsaw puzzle. The characters are compelling, heart wrenching and memorable. I need to listen again, there is so much there.
The story about the experiences of a German youth and a French girl during World War II whose lives eventually touch is well plottted. The prose is rich and sensuous, and the writer does a fine job describing how the world is experienced by the blind girl. My one criticism of the book is that the narrative jumps around chronologically for no obvious reason, and this is sometimes confusing. The narrative performance is OK, but not outstanding. He tends to read descriptive prose rather as Garrison Keeler reads poetry--in a uniformly lugubrious manner.
I have been looking for books based in France. Being severly visually impaired I loved the concept presented of a 16 year old blind girl, her father built a replica of Paris, she memorized it. Only in a book. But this book was about mans inhumanity to man/women/children, I couldn't handle it. It was mental suffering for me, also I couldn't keep some the characters separated. For me, it was just too depressing.. the writing seemed good. I couldn't handle the content.
I kept hoping it would get better. The story had a lot of potential, reader was good, but I had trouble staying interested. Did finish it, not terrible, but not great either.
Great book! Met and loved two characters that will live in my mind forever. The young German boy study is both enlightening and troubling at the same time. How could a young bright boy get caught up in Hitler's propaganda. The young girl is just lovable. I recommended this book to anyone who will listen.
There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson
A very engrossing book! It’s a really good story, but the build up is a bit too long. I like the way the reader has a lot of sympathy for Werner. He is basically trapped his whole life, but he undergoes a transformation that is extremely heartwarming at the end, and the build up here makes the extra length of the book worthwhile.
It seemed like the author is trying to show the reader how it feels to be blind, like the main character, young Marie Laure. This is admirable, however, I found all the minute descriptions from the mind of the blind girl to be too detailed. It was hard for me to appreciate them. Just like I didn’t enjoy reading a book where the narrator supposedly had Asperger syndrome, I didn’t really like seeing the world through the eyes of Marie Laure.
Also, the chapters skip around chronologically, which I found somewhat disorienting, since I was listening to the book. This technique is a good one, but at some points it seemed to be over-used.
The story is beautiful - and tender. And wide-ranging. It deals with blindness (on multiple levels), World War II, a small girl blind whose mother died in childbirth and whose father teaches her to explore and see in a way few of us can, a small boy (an orphan) who is an electronics savant - their separate childhoods, adolescence, meeting - and so much more. The reader isn't bad, but his pronunciation of French words, cities, areas is bad and distracting if you speak fluent French . Overall he was good, I just wish someone had tutored him a bit or he had sought out someone to help him hear better the language.
Absolutely! It takes you right back to WWII and what happened to the people who lived (and didn't live) through it.
Everything, one of my favorite audiobooks so far. It's just a really great story. The writing is gorgeous, some writers try to write in this full descriptive manner and it sounds forced. Not this story, it lets you see what the main character cannot.
The ability to do dishes and fold laundry while I "read"
He did a great job, didn't try to overdo it.
No moment in particular jumps out, this story is full, round and soft. Like floating on a raft that gently bobs with the waves. It just moves you along, tugging gently.
All around wonderful book. Do it!
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