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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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (15939 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Maria Belo Horizonte, Brazil 07-22-15
    Maria Belo Horizonte, Brazil 07-22-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    60
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    "Excellent!"

    I just loved this book! The characters are so sweet - despite the world and the war that surround them.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lennyankireddi USA 07-21-15
    lennyankireddi USA 07-21-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Insightful historical fiction"

    The story of two children, one blind French girl and one smart German boy and how their lives are affected by the second world war. The story is a bit hard to follow on account of how it jumps temporally back and forth and is not chronologically aligned. There is not a very directional or purposeful plot either. Most of the story is focused on shedding a light on how people's lives were affected by the war and what they experienced at that time. The book feels a little longer than it should have been and it feels a little hard to relate to the mental conditions of the time and the people of that age but the performance is good and evokes some thoughtful reflection on the motivations and seemingly random impulses that drive people to do the things they do. A good read overall.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rita 05-03-15
    Rita 05-03-15
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    "Extraordinary"

    Beautifully written, poignant, heartening. I listened while visiting Normandy for a week. Listening as I stood at the DDay beaches was a powerful experience. It moves first at a slow pace so you can be immersed in the mood and feel of WW II Europe and get used to the names and languages.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Norah B. Alexander 04-18-15 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Captivating"

    I could not stop listening to this book. I would highly recommend it. Masterful writing makes the words come alive.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marilyn E. Denisco Ohio 02-20-15
    Marilyn E. Denisco Ohio 02-20-15 Member Since 2014

    m'lyn

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    "Truly memorable..."

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KLH San Antonio, TX 02-16-15
    KLH San Antonio, TX 02-16-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "My ears, my ears!"
    Would you listen to All the Light We Cannot See again? Why?

    No. The narrator's voice is annoying and monotonous. His attempts to pronounce foreign words are just silly.


    How could the performance have been better?

    By having someone else narrate read the book.


    If you could rename All the Light We Cannot See, what would you call it?

    All the Words I Cannot Bear


    Any additional comments?

    The story, while not the most exciting story I've heard/read, was not the main problem.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marilee 01-25-15
    Marilee 01-25-15
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    "I didn't want the book to end."
    Would you consider the audio edition of All the Light We Cannot See to be better than the print version?

    I didn't read the print book. I loved the narrated version.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    What about Zach Appelman’s performance did you like?

    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.


    Who was the most memorable character of All the Light We Cannot See and why?

    Werner and Marie Laure, the young star crossed protagonists, buffeted by events and circumstances.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Celia Jackmauh 01-23-15 Member Since 2010
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    "A perfect book, beautifully narrated."

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W Perry Hall 01-20-15 Member Since 2015

    Atty/CPA, The South

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    Story
    "Love, Self-Sacrifice Conquer Evil, Fury"

    As with some literary historical fiction, I was skeptical when I started this book. I even went so far as to return it before hearing more and more praise. So I stuck it out for a couple of hours, and, boy oh boy was it worth it! A novel with themes of love and self-sacrifice and humanity in the face of greater evils.

    Somerset Maugham said it best in THE RAZOR'S EDGE (another novel centered in France): "... self-sacrifice is a passion so overwhelming that beside it even lust and hunger are trifling. It whirls its victim to destruction in the highest affirmation of his personality. The object doesn't matter; it may be worthwhile or it may be worthless. No wine is so intoxicating, no love so shattering, no vice so compelling. When he sacrifices himself man for a moment is [or believes himself to be] greater than God, for how can God, infinite and omnipotent, sacrifice himself? At best he can only sacrifice his only begotten son."

    So, O Fellow Impatient Ones, stay with this for 2 hours, and you will be satisfied once you've finished.

    The best book of 2014. Bar none.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emrys Alfred, NY, United States 01-16-15
    Emrys Alfred, NY, United States 01-16-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Good story, good prose, but confusing chronology"

    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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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