All the Light We Cannot See Paperback – 23 Apr 2015
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'Far more than a conventional war story, It's a tightly focused epic … 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' Daily Mail
‘An epic work about bravery and the power of attachment’ Rose Tremain, Observer, Books of the Year
‘An epic and a masterpiece’ Justin Cartwright, Observer
‘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… magnificent’ Guardian
‘Doerr can bring a scene to life in a single paragraph … Delicate and moving … the novel takes hold and will not easily let go’ The Times
‘Boy meets girl in Anthony Doerr’s hauntingly beautiful new book, but the circumstances are as elegantly circuitous as they can be’ 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’ 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
‘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
About the Author
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.
From the Publisher
All the Light We Cannot See
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.
Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.’
For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic layers within the invaluable diamond that her father guards in the Museum of Natural History. The walled city by the sea, where father and daughter take refuge when the Nazis invade Paris. And a future which draws her ever closer to Werner, a German orphan, destined to labour in the mines until a broken radio fills his life with possibility and brings him to the notice of the Hitler Youth.
In this magnificent, deeply moving novel, the stories of Marie-Laure and Werner illuminate the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.
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The horror of WWII was hardly a groundbreaking subject, but this story manges to make you look at it in a way you may never have before.
I fell in love with Werner's character from the beginning. He was so authentic and I really felt his pain and his struggle to accept the difficult decisions he has to make. A wonderful character who, even though he would be considered to be "the bad guy" by historical standards, is the most loveable and relateable in the novel. It is a testament to how good the writing is, to think that I was most invested in the fate of this young Nazi boy. The chapters surrounding his time at school were wonderfully descriptive, and equally horrific. They will stay with me for a long time.
I do have to say that the book was rather long, and a bit slow to start, so it did take me a while to get into it. The storyline surrounding the sea of flames frustrated me slightly, as it seemed like little more than a plot accelerator. However, the well developed characters and insight into wartime Europe more than makes up for this.
All in all, a great book.
Marie Laure is an 11 yrs old blind girl, who is taken from Paris to St Malo, by her father for safety. Werner is an 11 yrs old German boy, who is a genius with technology i e old fashioned radios of the era. He attends an elite school for the German Ideal. Werner progresses to be an important part of discovering illegal radios used by the Resistance in the St Malo area.
Some very interesting facts are given and there’s obviously a lot going on; mostly about the sadness, hardship and devastating consequences of war. Paths cross along the way. Various plot threads interact. There are some heroic pleasing characters and equally some distasteful cruel individuals.
Would recommend but advise sticking with the unusual style.