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
One of the top 2 or 3.
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.
No, but I am now looking for more.
No. I would recommend that they read this. The author flips back and forth in different time periods as well as different points of view making it very hard to follow. I had to go sit in Barnes and Noble and read through the book for an hour to make the story really comprehensible. Sometimes I think the best books for audio are first person narratives, or at least stories told in a linear fashion. Maybe literary fiction novels with multiple threads are best left to the reader. That said, I'm glad I made the effort. It was a wonderful book.
Marie hiding from her German antagonist during the bombing.
He's very good.
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!
Wife, mom of one amazing son, and I have the second best job in the world, working in a bookstore :)
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.
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.
The great uncle because of his great imagination and the fact he has been through so much.
The only reason I can think that someone would give this beautiful book a poor review is that they're jealous that they didn't write it. Do they not like the narrator? Zach is great, but honestly Kermit the Frog could read it to me and I would still listen. Get this book and tell all your friends. (But, don't tell your friends that you listened to it because then they'll get all self-righteous about how they could never listen because they just love to hold a book in their hands and they'll judge you and they'll correct you in public if you mention that you "read" a book when you really listened to a book.)
Hiring more actors to voice different characters! Better pacing, hiring an actor that could pronounce all of the French in this story without butchering it.
I couldn't ever get into it, to be honest.
Horribly American pronunciations of French. There's so much French in the book, I'm sorry, you need to be able to pronounce better than that.
Boredom. Did not care to continue listening. One for the dustbin.
Probably not. I'm not a huge fan of war related stories I love the bits about Marie-Laure and her father and the diamond, I also enjoy the parts about Werner and fixing radios but when it comes to Hitler youth and military things I feel the drool dripping out the side of my mouth in boredom.
Marie-Laure starting out seeing and going blind and the journey she goes through learning to read braille and the miniature model of the town(s) her father builds her.
No it is far to long to listen to in one sitting! I have been enjoying it on my drive to and from work.
I just yoyo back and forth between being really interested in this book and then very disenchanted and bored. I don't know if it's my dislike for military related topics or the book it's self. I feel it is very well written, and I like the performance by Zach Appelman.
It's hard to write a book from adolescent point of view during the war. I think he did a nice job of showing both sides of the war -- both the German citizens and those they were wreaking terror upon.
The perseverance of the two main characters and the resolution of the story seemed spot on.
Way too long for that but walked the dog a bit longer than usual while listening.
You may have to listen at 1.25x for this -- the spaces the narrator leaves for timing made the blue tooth stop.
Engineer, wife, audiobook addict. I live for those books that you just cannot put down.
I selected this book based off the glowing reviews. I was disappointed. The book bounces around between times and characters and in audiobook format, it was extremely confusing to follow for almost half of the book. Then once I had everyone straight, the story seemed to trudge along where the story's very subtle forward momentum was continuously interrupted by long tedious passages. Usually good writing is enough to keep me invested in the story through long drawn out narratives but this audiobook's eloquent writing wasn't adequate to make up for the double whammy of the extremely sluggish plot, confusing timelines, and the overall depressive conditions it described. I found myself wanting to escape from the book instead of escaping into the book. Because of the glowing reviews, I hung on expecting the author to make some huge leap to a conclusion that at least gave me the warm hearted feeling of being glad I saw it through to the end but alas, it wasn't so. I found the ending felt dull and flat. So, in short, the writing was very good, but not good enough to keep me feeling invested and looking forward to listening.
While bouncing back and forth between time and place can enhance a story greatly, in this particular case, it didn't translate well into the audiobook. It was too confusing. I suspect that had I been reading it instead of listening, the jumps might have been more easily understood but the producer or director should have realized how confusing it was in the audiobook and taken enough license to provide some sort of method for the listener to comprehend the shifts in time and place more easily. And typically when a story shifts around in the way this one does, the ending somehow brings all the stories together in a way that makes it worth the tediousness of the earlier jumps. While these stories did cross paths, I didn't feel like the unification at the end was climactic enough to justify the confusion it caused in earlier chapters. The ending felt sort of hollow because instead of a climactic unification of the different story lines, some of them just end without resolution and it truly felt more like a "cross paths" than a "unification" and I felt disappointed with that.
The narrator was fine but it would have been helpful for him to modify his voice for different characters. Sometimes this annoys me but in this case, it would have enhanced the listener's ability to keep track of time and place in the earlier chapters of the book.
Nope. It's pretty shocking for me to admit that I don't like a book, and I just didn't like this one. I wasn't drawn to it, I was just trying to get through it. Listening to it began to feel like a chore.
I read one review that gushed over what a great story this was and that anyone that didn't like it just couldn't appreciate the writing. I disagree completely. I have given books glowing reviews based just on the writing. Writing can make up for a lot of sins. The author could have given this plot significantly more forward momentum and there was certainly lots of room to create a more powerful ending. But even the dramatic portions of the story seemed flat and one dimensional in the audio book. Some of that may have been the fault of the narrator and director, but overall the audiobook felt confusing, slow, and outright tedious. The good writing failed to make up for hours of tedious listening for a plot that just honestly kind of fizzled out. I was extremely disappointed in this book. I expected a lot more based on other reviews.
The author creates two remote worlds, then moves them relentlessly and painfully toward each other. He evokes the youthfulness of the children of, and in, war. How frightening to be young and blind (and bombed), or young and smart (and used to support the bombing). This was a touching book, and, like many WW II books, it is awful to contemplate. But I am glad he wrote it, and I am glad I read it.
Many books portray the horror, countered by enduring love, of WWII. This one does that, but also takes advantage of its recent publication date. I won't spoil it, but technology does mean different things to different generations, and never more so than to some here. I didn't expect that angle because I hadn't read it before. It isn't a huge part of the book, but it meaningful.
He did a wonderful job.
I love not only the main characters, but the supporting ones. The father, the sister, the collections at the museum, the crazy uncle, and the housekeeper were all valuable. I didn't want to lose any of them, but given the setting of the book, you know it isn't going to work out well for many of them. But I kept up the hope, which I think is such a tiny insight into the desperate hope of the people who actually experienced the war.
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