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All the Light We Cannot See

by Anthony Doerr

Book Club Recommendations Books of the Month Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel eBooks of the Month Historical Fiction Modern and Contemporary Fiction

LoveReading View on All the Light We Cannot See

One of our Books of the Year 2015.

May 2015 Book of the Month.

Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

A big book in every way, powerful, intensely moving and awe inspiring.  It traces the lives of blind Marie and orphan Werner through World War II.  Werner is a whizz with fixing things and is pushed into Hitler’s Youth and on into the heart of the fighting until he lands up in St Malo on the Brittany coast where he meets Marie.  Marie has fled there from Paris as the Germans advanced.  The novel takes us through to the present.  It is an epic story of the horror of war, the suffering and endurance illuminated with many acts of kindness.  Beautifully written, it is a memorable, haunting tale.  Doerr is an author to note being chosen by Granta as one of 21 Best Young American Novelists of the moment. ~ Sarah Broadhurst

Sarah Broadhurst

All the Light We Cannot See Synopsis

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST AND NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel 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, from the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr. When Marie Laure goes blind, aged six, her father builds her a model of their Paris neighborhood, so she can memorize it with her fingers and then navigate the real streets. But when the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure's agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall. In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, is enchanted by a crude radio. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent ultimately makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE is his most ambitious and dazzling work.

All the Light We Cannot See Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Tracey Poulter - 'Beautifully written, almost lyrical, it transports you to a different time. This book will appeal to a wide range of readers and will leave you reflecting on it a long time after you have read the final page.'
  • Emma Barton - 'This is a beautifully written, sensitive account of occupied France during the Second World War, seen through the eyes of two children.'
  • Sheila Dale - 'Beautifully written, somewhat of a slow burn but gripping reading.'
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'Brilliant.  Quite brilliant.  Want to understand the challenges of living through WW2 in the eyes of a child?  Then read and enjoy Doerr’s fantastic masterpiece.'
  • Ann Peet - 'Hugely enjoyable and well written WW2 story.'
  • Sarah Webb - 'Beautiful writing and a great story.'
  • Victoria Whish - 'An epic tome of a book that tells the stories of a blind girl, Marie Laure and an orphan, Werner and their lives as they gradually intersect in WW2 Saint-Malo.'
  • Sue Broom - 'A deeply moving story of interconnected lives set in World War II, focusing on how we use our senses to experience the world - indescribably well written.'
  • Cat Hogwood - 'An inspirational story of courage and love, laced with loss and fear.'
  • Suzanne Beney - 'A completely absorbing and compelling story, I love how the story unfolds.'
  • Victoria Emerson - 'Beautifully written.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'A beautiful story that does not shy away from grizzly descriptions of war time.'
  • Kathy Martin - 'The attention to detail at times can be quite fascinating, and the contrasts of beauty, loyalty, fanaticism, cruelty and love at times left me breathless.'

All the Light We Cannot See Press Reviews

'Far more than a conventional war story, It's a tightly focused epic revolving around two unusual main characters ... Doerr paints with a rich palette, using prose that resonates deeply and conveys the ephemera of daily existence along with high drama, sadness and hope ... A bittersweet and moving novel that lingers in the mind'
Clifford Beal, Daily Mail

'This novel will be a piece of luck for anyone with a long plane journey or beach holiday ahead. It is such a page-turner, entirely absorbing... [Doerr's] attention to detail is magnificent'
Carmen Callil, Guardian

'Doerr's novel seems poised somewhere between the sublime and the twee. It very much lands on the right side of things, thanks to the author's eye for detail and the suspenseful rhythm of his chapters - often only a page or two - which expertly cut back and forth in time. He can bring a scene to life in a single paragraph ... Delicate and moving ... the novel takes hold and will not easily let go'
Lidija Haas, The Times

'Boy meets girl in Anthony Doerr's hauntingly beautiful new book, but the circumstances are as elegantly circuitous as they can be'
Janet Maslin, The New York Times

'I'm not sure I will read a better novel this year ... Enthrallingly told, beautifully written and so emotionally plangent that some passages bring tears'
Amanda Vaill, Washington Post

'This jewel of a story is put together like a vintage timepiece ... Doerr's writing and imagery are stunning. It's been a while since a novel had me under its spell in this fashion.'
Abraham Verghese

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780008138301
Publication date: 23/04/2015
Publisher: Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780007548668
Publication date: 08/05/2014
Publisher: Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780008138301
Publication date: 23rd April 2015
Author: Anthony Doerr
Publisher: Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 544 pages
Genres: Book Club Recommendations, Books of the Month, Reader Reviewed Books, eBook Favourites, Historical Fiction, Modern and Contemporary Fiction,
Collections: 50+ Beautifully Written Books,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr is the author of four books, The Shell Collector, About Grace, Four Seasons in Rome and Memory Wall. Doerr's short fiction has won three O. Henry Prizes and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, and The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. He has won the Rome Prize, and shared the New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award with Jonathan Safran Foer. In 2007 Granta placed Doerr on its list of the 21 Best Young American novelists. Doerr lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two sons.   ...

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