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All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel Paperback – Nov 4 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 407 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Canadian Export edition (Nov. 4 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 150110456X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1501104565
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 3 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 458 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 407 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #58 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"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

"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

"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 "Library Journal "

"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 text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Anthony Doerr is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel All the Light We Cannot See. He is also the author of two story collections Memory Wall and The Shell Collector, the novel About Grace, and the memoir Four Seasons in Rome. He has won four 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. Doerr lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two sons.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A beautiful story, set in, but not really about, the second world war. A teenage blind French girl and her grandfather, a teenage German boy with a gift for fixing radios, and a precious stone hidden in a museum.
With sensitivity and skill the author weaves the different strands of the story,keeping the reader spellbound until the end. The only reason I didn't give it five stars is that I sometimes lost the connection when the author switched from one main character to the other. Perhaps that was my fault though as my short term memory is getting to be very short indeed these days!
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Format: Hardcover
It is not often that I read a book that so enchants me that I totally lose myself in it - this is that sort of book. Set during the dark days of the second World War we are introduced to two German orphans Werner and Jutta Pfennig . He is being brought up to go down the same mine that killed his father. But he has a talent for making and mending radios and so by dint of his own enthusiasm he manages to secure an alternative future.

He ends up going to one of the National Political Educational schools or NAPOLA's as they were known. This is where boys were turned into fighting machines to maintain the Thousand year Reich. We also have the story of a locksmith and his blind daughter - Marie-Laure Le Balnc. Once the invasion is on and The Battle of France is all but lost they escape to St Malo where he has a reclusive cousin. He is also taking something that is both cursed and attractive to rare gem enthusiasts. The story of these two unassuming children is destined to cross, but the story of how that comes to be is as incredible as it is moving.

There is so much more to this book, author Anthony Doerr has written a master piece along the lines I would expect of Louis De Bernier - which is a massive compliment. The story starts off at what we think is near the end and we play catch up as the story unfolds and we are taken back to the beginnings for both Werner and Marie-Laure. The language is both subtle and inventive with simple words being used in effortless analogies to bring the characters, situations and landscape to vivid life.

It is over 500 pages and I just wish it had been twice as long it was that enjoyable. I could go on all day piling on praise - suffice to say that this is the best read I have had this year and will now take a look at the other four works from this remarkable author.
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By Lynne Frappier TOP 500 REVIEWER on Sept. 18 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think I'm swaying towards a 4.5 star review rather than a 5 star one ... and the only reason is that I think that last 50 pages weren't necessary. The book could have ended in WWII France and I would have been happy.

That being said. This books is pretty darn-close to perfection. Anthony Doerr writes beautifully. He is able to transport us into WWII France and Germany; into the world of Marie-Laure: a blind, French girl who so loves Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, adores her father, saves her great-uncle Etienne, and is simply a wonderful protagonist.

Meanwhile we also follow Werner: a German orphan who questions everything scientific, but doesn't question events that are happening around him. A boy who loves his sister, but is lost in his mind of tinkering with machines and radios.

We go back and forth between their stories - from Germany to France over the years of 1934 to 1943. And although their stories don't have much in common, they still do come full circle in the end.

I got lost in both their worlds, I cheered and cried for them. Was gutted when certain things happened. If you enjoy historical fiction, this should be on your *to read list*.
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Format: Paperback
A beautifully written story in which the stories of a young blind French girl an impoverished young German boy are told. As the novel progresses the threads appear that tie them together. The story is thoughtful, all the characters well developed including the supporting characters. And as with life everyone's ending is not fairytale happiness.
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By Robert P. Brown TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 10 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The setting for this 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner; France and Germany during the later stages of WWll. It follows the lives of:
- Daniel LeBlanc, formerly principal locksmith for the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, who builds intricate puzzle boxes, tiny replicas of houses and of the city, for his daughter:
- Marie-Laurie, blind, who lives with her reclusive great-uncle in St. Malo, Brittany, to where she and her father have been forced to flee when the Nazis invade Paris.
- Werner Pfennig, an orphan, who from an early age has been fascinated by radios which he soon learns to build and repair. As a teenager he has been drafted into the German army, his duties,; to triangulate the location of Resistance transmitters.
- Von Rumpel, Nazi Sargent-Major, who is searching for an elusive diamond, "The Sea of Flames", once located in the museum in Paris. Superstition has it that the keeper will live forever while misfortunes fall on all those he loves.

Doerr`s masterful prose style brilliantly evokes the horrors of war, what life is like under Occupation forces, while on the other side, the brutal training of young people to become defenders of the Fatherland.

An emotional story that will stay with the reader long after it is read.
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