*Winner of the Pulitzer Prize* A New York Times Book Review Top Ten Book* A National Book Award finalist *
From Anthony Doerr, the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning author of Cloud Cuckoo Land, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller 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 in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. 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, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.
Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
By focusing on the exquisite details of a finely powdered cake, the crackle of an old-time radio show, or the sensation of holding a seashell in your palm, Anthony Doerr turns a harrowing story of survival into a life-affirming pleasure. Set against the backdrop of World War II, All the Light We Cannot See crisscrosses through time to tell the story of Marie-Laure LeBlanc—an adventurous blind Parisian girl—and Werner Pfennig, a prodigal German orphan who plays a reluctant role stamping out resistance broadcasts. Short chapters unfold with the vividness of a dream, ensuring Doerr’s remarkable characters imprint themselves on your heart.
In 1944, the U.S. Air Force bombed the Nazi-occupied French coastal town of St. Malo. Doerr (Memory Wall) starts his story just before the bombing, then goes back to 1934 to describe two childhoods: those of Werner and Marie-Laure. We meet Werner as a tow-headed German orphan whose math skills earn him a place in an elite Nazi training school saving him from a life in the mines, but forcing him to continually choose between opportunity and morality. Marie-Laure is blind and grows up in Paris, where her father is a locksmith for the Museum of Natural History, until the fall of Paris forces them to St. Malo, the home of Marie-Laure's eccentric great-uncle, who, along with his longtime housekeeper, joins the Resistance. Doerr throws in a possibly cursed sapphire and the Nazi gemologist searching for it, and weaves in radio, German propaganda, coded partisan messages, scientific facts, and Jules Verne. Eventually, the bombs fall, and the characters' paths converge, before diverging in the long aftermath that is the rest of the 20th century. If a book's success can be measured by its ability to move readers and the number of memorable characters it has, Story Prize winner Doerr's novel triumphs on both counts. Along the way, he convinces readers that new stories can still be told about this well-trod period, and that war despite its desperation, cruelty, and harrowing moral choices cannot negate the pleasures of the world.
All the Light We Cannot See
Great book and beautiful story
Really loved reading this book. Great story and very interesting to see the world from the perspective of a blind girl.
I read this after I read “the nightingale” and I think because the other book was so good, I felt this was horrible. I had to force myself through every page