A blind French girl. An orphaned German boy. A relentless Nazi soldier searching for a rare gem... these are only 3 of the beautifully developed, yet imperfect characters in Anthony Doerr’s WWII historical fiction novel. All the Light We Cannot See has such an emotional depth that weaves simultaneous stories together into a true masterpiece. If you’re a fan, it’s a bit reminiscent of Sarah’s Key. One of the many things I loved about this book is that it’s not your typical WWII story. Doerr explores human nature and the inner horror of some difficult choices.
May 2014 Indie Next List
“The French girl cannot see, but she can hear, feel, and explore the world around her like a budding naturalist. The German boy has no parents, but he teaches himself how coils of copper can receive lessons of love and learning. It's World War II, however, and the potential of thousands of children will be unrealized or thwarted. Will a mythical gemstone save them or unite them? Gorgeously written, Doerr's epic tale brings alive the beauty of two souls, their quest for learning, the turbulent times they cannot control, and the rock that mysteriously guides their fate.”
— Harriett Logan, Loganberry Books, Shaker Hts, OH
*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.
*Soon to be a Netflix limited series from the producers of Stranger Things*
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).
About the Author
Anthony Doerr is the author of Cloud Cuckoo Land, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and All the Light We Cannot See, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Carnegie Medal, the Alex Award, and a #1 New York Times bestseller. He is also the author of the story collections Memory Wall and The Shell Collector, the novel About Grace, and the memoir Four Seasons in Rome. He has won five O. Henry Prizes, the Rome Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award, the National Magazine Award for fiction, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Story Prize. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Doerr lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two sons.
“Exquisite…Mesmerizing…Nothing short of brilliant.” — Alice Evans
“Hauntingly beautiful.” — Janet Maslin
“History intertwines with irresistible fiction—secret radio broadcasts, a cursed diamond, a soldier’s deepest doubts—into a richly compelling, bittersweet package.” — Mary Pols
“Anthony Doerr again takes language beyond mortal limits.” — Elissa Schappell
“The whole enthralls.” — Good Housekeeping
“Enthrallingly told, beautifully written…Every piece of back story reveals information that charges the emerging narrative with significance, until at last the puzzle-box of the plot slides open to reveal the treasure hidden inside.” — Amanda Vaill
“Stupendous…A beautiful, daring, heartbreaking, oddly joyous novel.” — David Laskin
“Stunning and ultimately uplifting… Doerr’s not-to-be-missed tale is a testament to the buoyancy of our dreams, carrying us into the light through the darkest nights.” — Entertainment Weekly
“Doerr has packed each of his scenes with such refractory material that All the Light We Cannot See reflects a dazzling array of themes….Startlingly fresh.” — John Freeman
“Gorgeous… moves with the pace of a thriller… Doerr imagines the unseen grace, the unseen light that, occasionally, surprisingly, breaks to the surface even in the worst of times.” — Dan Cryer
“Incandescent… a luminous work of strife and transcendence… with characters as noble as they are enthralling” — Hamilton Cain
“Perfectly captured…Doerr writes sentences that are clear-eyed, taut, sweetly lyrical.” — Josh Cook
“A beautiful, expansive tale…Ambitious and majestic.” — Steph Cha
“This tough-to-put-down book proves its worth page after lyrical page…Each and every person in this finely spun assemblage is distinct and true.” — Sharon Peters
“Doerr is an exquisite stylist; his talents are on full display.” — Alan Cheuse
“Vivid…[All the Light We Cannot See] brims with scrupulous reverence for all forms of life. The invisible light of the title shines long after the last page.” — Tricia Springstubb
“Intricate… A meditation on fate, free will, and the way that, in wartime, small choices can have vast consequences.” — New Yorker
“Doerr deftly guides All the Light We Cannot See toward the day Werner’s and Marie-Laure lives intersect during the bombing of Saint-Malo in what may be his best work to date.” — Yvonne Zipp
“To open a book by Anthony Doerr is to open a door on humanity…His sentences shimmer…His paragraphs are luminous with bright, sparkling beauty.” — Martha Anne Toll
“Endlessly bold and equally delicate…An intricate miracle of invention, narrative verve, and deep research lightly held, but above all a miracle of humanity….Anthony Doerr’s novel celebrates—and also accomplishes—what only the finest art can: the power to create, reveal, and augment experience in all its horror and wonder, heartbreak and rapture.” — Shelf Awareness
“Magnificent.” — Carmen Callil
“Intricately structured…All the Light We Cannot See is a work of art and of preservation.” — Jane Ciabattari
“A revelation.” — Michael Magras
“Anthony Doerr writes beautifully… A tour de force.” — Elizabeth Reed
“A novel to live in, learn from, and feel bereft over when the last page is turned, Doerr’s magnificently drawn story seems at once spacious and tightly composed. . . . Doerr masterfully and knowledgeably recreates the deprived civilian conditions of war-torn France and the strictly controlled lives of the military occupiers.” — Booklist (starred review)
“Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“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. He convinces readers...that war—despite its desperation, cruelty, and harrowing moral choices—cannot negate the pleasures of the world.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“This novel has the physical and emotional heft of a masterpiece…[All the Light We Cannot See] presents two characters so interesting and sympathetic that readers will keep turning the pages hoping for an impossibly happy ending…Highly recommended for fans of Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient.” — Evelyn Beck
"What a delight! This novel has exquisite writing and a wonderfully suspenseful story. A book you'll tell your friends about..." — Frances Itani, author of Deafening
“This jewel of a story is put together like a vintage timepiece, its many threads coming together so perfectly. Doerr’s writing and imagery are stunning. It’s been a while since a novel had me under its spell in this fashion. The story still lives on in my head.” — Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone
“All the Light We Cannot See is a dazzling, epic work of fiction. Anthony Doerr writes beautifully about the mythic and the intimate, about snails on beaches and armies on the move, about fate and love and history and those breathless, unbearable moments when they all come crashing together.” — Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins
“Doerr sees the world as a scientist, but feels it as a poet. He knows about everything—radios, diamonds, mollusks, birds, flowers, locks, guns—but he also writes a line so beautiful, creates an image or scene so haunting, it makes you think forever differently about the big things—love, fear, cruelty, kindness, the countless facets of the human heart. Wildly suspenseful, structurally daring, rich in detail and soul, Doerr’s new novel is that novel, the one you savor, and ponder, and happily lose sleep over, then go around urging all your friends to read—now.” — J.R. Moehringer, author of Sutton and The Tender Bar
“A tender exploration of this world's paradoxes; the beauty of the laws of nature and the terrible ends to which war subverts them; the frailty and the resilience of the human heart; the immutability of a moment and the healing power of time. The language is as expertly crafted as the master locksmith's models in the story, and the settings as intricately evoked. A compelling and uplifting novel.” — M.L. Stedman, author of The Light Between Oceans
“The craftsmanship of Doerr’s book is rooted in his ability to inhabit the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner…[A] fine novel.” — Steve Novak
“Beautifully written… Soulful and addictive.” — Chris Stuckenschneider
“Doerr conjures up a vibrating, crackling world…Intricately, beautifully crafted.” — Rebecca Kelley
“There is so much in this book. It is difficult to convey the complexity, the detail, the beauty and the brutality of this simple story.” — Carole O'Brien
“Sometimes a novel doesn’t merely transport. It immerses, engulfs, keeps you caught within its words until the very end, when you blink and remember there’s a world beyond the pages. All the Light We Cannot See is such a book… Vibrant, poignant, delicately exquisite. Despite the careful building of time and place (so vivid you fall between the pages), it’s not a story of history; it’s a story of people living history.” — Historical Novel Society
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