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

4.6 out of 5 stars 377 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: 481 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 377 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #25 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

“Exquisite…Mesmerizing…Nothing short of brilliant.” (Alice Evans Portland Oregonian)

“Hauntingly beautiful.” (Janet Maslin The New York Times)

“History intertwines with irresistible fiction—secret radio broadcasts, a cursed diamond, a soldier’s deepest doubts—into a richly compelling, bittersweet package.” (Mary Pols People (3 1/2 stars))

“Anthony Doerr again takes language beyond mortal limits.” (Elissa Schappell Vanity Fair)

“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 Washington Post)

“Stupendous…A beautiful, daring, heartbreaking, oddly joyous novel.” (David Laskin The Seattle Times)

“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)

“Dazzling…Startlingly fresh.” (John Freeman The Boston Globe)

“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 San Francisco Chronicle)

“Incandescent…Mellifluous and unhurried…Characters as noble as they are enthralling. Doerr looms myriad strains into a luminous work of strife and transcendence.” (Hamilton Cain O, the Oprah magazine)

“Perfectly captured…Doerr writes sentences that are clear-eyed, taut, sweetly lyrical.” (Josh Cook Minneapolis Star Tribune)

“A beautiful, expansive tale…Ambitious and majestic.” (Steph Cha Los Angeles Times)

“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 USA Today)

“Doerr is an exquisite stylist; his talents are on full display.” (Alan Cheuse NPR)

“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 Washington Independent Review of Books)

“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 Christian Science Monitor)

“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 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

“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 Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“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 The Guardian (UK))

“Intricately structured…All the Light We Cannot See is a work of art and of preservation.” (Jane Ciabattari BBC)

“A revelation.” (Michael Magras BookReporter.com)

“Doerr conjures up a vibrating, crackling world…Intricately, beautifully crafted.” (Rebecca Kelley Bustle.com)

“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 Library Journal (starred review))

"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) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback 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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Top Customer Reviews

By anon TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 25 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ah, my favourite kind of book--a literary page turner. This book is superbly crafted and researched. The chapters are very short, which makes it easy to read if you don't have a lot of time. But I found myself unable to set this novel down. Highly recommend, even for readers like me who are sick of World War II as a subject. Anthony Doerr gives a fresh perspective that rings very true.
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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: Hardcover
A WWII novel which engaged me from the first chapter. The story focuses on two German orphans and a blind French girl being the main characters forced into and impacted by the framework of war. Time reveals their connection to each other.There are others involved together with a valuable jewel, along with twists and turns that make this a book I highly recommend. The story moves along well carrying the reader back and forth through time frames. I enjoyed the use of short chapters. Ultimately it is a story of doing what you can to be good to one another. Well written, and I will look for another book authored by Anthony Doerr.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I couldn't put this book down. It moved with a slow, steady pace and it was sad and a bit ethereal. It is a story of love, loss, hope, and a will to live. But it is also a story about how lives cross but each of those lives have a past and a future. This was truly a beautiful book and one whose images will keep coming back after the last page has been read.
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Format: Paperback
This is an exquisitely written novel, textured, nuanced and with an incredibly light touch, given its often macabre topic-the experience of war through the eyes of two children-a German boy who is probably Albino (who learned French from an orphan home director) and who is recruited into the Hitler youth, and the other a blind French girl, who loves the history and stories of life, especially as told through seashells. The intersection of their lives is always expected, but is brief, given what could be read as the 'build up'. Rather, their true intersection is not in their meeting of each other, but their mutual love and respect for radio, the sea and the magnificent portrayal of the sea by Jules Vernes. Set alternatively in Germany, and in France, especially in the beautiful seaside city of Saint Malo, this novel has a quality of 'light' that one rarely sees in historical fiction, a presence that stays with you. Painful, poignant, simple in the way children's perceptions are simple and yet powerful in simple portrayals of the casual rape of war, both literally on women and figuratively on a landscape .It is also one of the finest renderings of the meaning of radio for both those participating in war and those most greatly affected by it. Read it. It will linger with you, the way light always does. Especially that we do not see.
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