All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See

A Novel

Book - 2014
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Comments (246)


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ErikaCh
Jan 24, 2018

I can understand why this book got very highly spoken about. But this book will not be my first pick among all the WW2 history novel.
For sure, it is superbly well written. To me, some paragraphs or even chapters are just redundant. The story itself lack a tempo/twist to it. Only the last 100 pages showed some tense. Also, some of the words maybe just too difficult for me to grab the beauty since English is not my native language.
I wasn't able to finish the book before it's due. So I turned to audio book. It is my first trying audio "reading". It enabled me to finish the book.

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MaggieBrooklyn
Jan 23, 2018

I don't have a lot of time to read these days, so when I do read a book, it's got to be good. Literary or historical fiction is my favorite, and I usually pick something that has been well-recommended and has great reviews. Well, this book did not disappoint.

I read this a few years ago, and I think it's been one of my favorite books in recent years. Totally deserved the Pulitzer Prize. This is a fascinating story about these two characters, how they survived through really tough times. The story was very sad but also poignant and uplifting. Very well written. So engaging it was hard to put down. You want to read through to see what happens to the characters, but you also want to savor every page.

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Kathi92
Jan 12, 2018

I am half way through the book and I am hooked. Short chapters (2-4pages) and the story about different sides and different perspectives during WW2 is amazingly to read and experience. The people are intriguing and you want to know what happens next. I didn't mind the jumps in time back and fourth which I usually dislike in books because you can lose track but it was easy to follow and had a good structure. The writing style is very detailed, maybe because Marie-Laure is blind and therefore a lot of things are described how she would perceive it.

All in all, I cannot put the book down and need to finish it. Maybe it is because I am German and even more intrigued by the history of Europe and what happened from people's perspective rather than history books.

I recommend this book to everyone because I would have not thought that I would be interested but I am very much.

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hikerbean
Jan 11, 2018

One of my favorite books of all time. I've never suggested this book to anyone who didn't call and thank me for it. The writing is phenomenal, character development is fantastic, and the plot is exceptional. I honestly don't have enough superlatives to describe this work. I saw him speak at Seattle University during the Search for Meaning Book Festival. I bawled through his entire speech. He's an amazing human being and his unmatched curiosity makes for a superb intellect and skillful mastery of the writing craft!

Librarian_Deb Dec 03, 2017

Phenomenal. It's an interweaving story, one thread follows a young girl -blind and living in Paris with her father who works for the Museum of Natural History. This girl, Marie-Laure has learned to navigate the city through the intricate models her father builds. Unfortunately, they are living during World War II and when the Nazi occupation begins Marie's and her father have to flee Paris. They travel to Saint-Marlo, an walled city right next to the sea where Marie learns to navigate a new set of streets and to get along with her eccentric Great Uncle.
The other thread of the story follows Werner, an orphan boy growing up in Germany. He begins to develop an intense interest in radios - an interest that leads him to discovering extraordinary broadcasts that come from France, and an ability for repairing radios that is notices by the local authorities. They decide to send him to a special school where he can develop his skills - and be groomed to enter the German military machine.
Eventually the stories of these two young people comes together in a remarkable way. But I cannot by merely relating what happens in the book convey haw beautifully the story is told, how much the characters came alive in my mind, and how my heart was touched by their ups and downs. I would highly suggest if you like reading at all to read this remarkable book and find out for yourself what a treasure it is.

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finn75
Dec 03, 2017

A gripping read on the experience of individuals on both sides caught up in World War II. Deserves the accolades it got.

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smiliesar
Nov 20, 2017

Such a great book that captures the thoughts of multiple sides during World War 2

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rubyal32
Oct 30, 2017

Fantastic read. One of the best historical fiction novels I've read. I found it to be a book that was hard to put down, and fell in love with both main characters. A book I will recommend to all avid readers.

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hollybell
Oct 17, 2017

I don't know how this book won a Pulitzer Prize. I thought it was WAY too long and ponderous and the back and forth between story lines and time frames did not contribute to the story. By the final third I was itching for the book to end and put me and the characters out of their misery. And it doesn't really end, it just kind of dribbles away. It also suffers from the
Forest Gump effect of creating a character with a physical disability who is extraordinary in all other ways -- extra smart, extra caring, extra brave. Disappointing.

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bell_ugh
Oct 15, 2017

Amazing synopsis, intriguing cover, anticlimactic and slow story. I had to force myself to read this book after the first 200 pages (out of 531!). It took me 2 months to finish and my favorite character was killed off. Isn't that great?

The rising action/main story was very very VERY slow and was anticlimactic (pretty much 80% of the book). There were a lot of unnecessary chapters and segments that were repetitive of the last. I will admit that All the Light We Cannot See had good falling action (10% of the book) since it was super emotional. It was also the point where the story ties a clean knot between the character development and plot. I felt like the book would be better if the end of the book was the falling action instead of the character epilogue (the last 10%). All the Light We Cannot See is more of a character study, like Six of Crows, if you have read that.

vpazreads Oct 05, 2017

Beautiful writing and compelling story. The very end, which updated the story in vignettes from 1974 and 2014, felt jarring compared to the lyrical prose of the WWII section.

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Emmapaw257
Sep 22, 2017

I loved the way this book brought on an entirely new perspective to WW2, with the use of a 2 perspective narrative Dorr was able to perfectly capture the ignorance of both the germans and those under rule of Germany. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an intelligent and meaningful read.

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ace_combs
Aug 13, 2017

On of those books you hear so much praise for you think it can't live up to the hype. For me, it did and more. Doerr blends science and art, poetry and prose, untrammeled beauty and the horror of war into a riveting book that serves up its short chapters like confections. I found myself late at night saying, "Well, just one more."

Marie-Laure is the solid grounded center around which the book revolves and her blindness doesn't make her a cipher or unnaturally noble--she's a real kid who simply deals with her lot in life and tries to survive and take what joys she can. At the same time, her tenous situation is made all the more dangerous by being caught in a war zone being fought over by the Allies and Axis. There are some rich poetic moments and some grisly ones--the author doesn't hold back. In a book where hiding is integral to the story, nothing is hidden from the reader.

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eringobraugh18
Aug 11, 2017

Beautifully written, couldn't put it down.

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kafkakat
Aug 07, 2017

It was just okay...definitely had some inventive high points but it didn't quite hold me...I wanted to really love it...

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aelchaar
Aug 01, 2017

Beautifully written.

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DruC
Jun 30, 2017

A lovely book that subtly focusses on the goodness - the light - inside some people in the face of horror and evil. Well worth a read, but only four stars because I thought going into the future at the end of the story was a mistake.

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williamkricket
Jun 30, 2017

War is hell. But this novel is at the top with my all time favourite books. Beautifully written, with unforgettable characters and a plot that draws you in and doesn't let go. It was even better on the second reading.

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2224966701
Jun 11, 2017

As good as Nightingale.

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TEENREVIEWBOARD
Jun 09, 2017

Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See is an absolutely amazing piece of literature! It is a novel of realistic and historical fiction, and revolves around the two main characters Marie-Laure LeBlanc who is a blind Parisian, and Werner Pfennig who is a German orphan. The novel propels the readers through the characters’ life stories during the Nazi invasion in 1944. Anthony Doerr is an incredibly intelligible man who brings out the world of science and history in poetic forms so that it is communicable to readers of all ages and interest. I loved this book and the way every setting, person, or event was described with such a vast lexicon that brought the supposed mood to the readers. Hats off to Anthony Doerr and All The Light We Cannot See! I definitely give this book a 5/5 star rating! I recommend this book for ages 12 and up!
- @ilovefood of The Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

As deep as the ocean and more, this book will pull in readers with its unresistable hypotonizing charm. Marie-Laure, the purest soul one could ever meet, is a genuine protagonist to follow. Werner, a bright young man who would rather be defined by his thoughts than his intelligence, goes through things that would break down almost anyone else. Although I was expecting the two to meet up, it didn't happen until way past halfway in the book. I didn't know what I was supposed to be expecting, but this was clearly not a romance book. Metaphorically, they both lived through a cloudy and dark day. I think their only meeting was like a moment of light, like a bright red of a sunset that escaped the veil, before the setting of the sun into the water. 4/5 stars
- @Siri of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

This story is a combination of two tales; that of Marie-Laure, and that of Werner. Both are on conflicting sides in the middle of one of the largest wars on earth; world war 2. But throughout the story, you see how similar these people are, and how, in light of these recent events, people still retain their humanity. A quote that I found touched me the most, and that summarizes the story exquisitely, is this, "'Your problem Werner,' says Frederick (Werner's friend from cadets), 'is that you still believe you own your life.'" This is true for both Werner and Marie-Laure. For, amongst the ashes, we will rise. Hope, innocence, and loyalty is all tested in this one, tremendous story of hearts that will never break. I would recommend this to anyone who has ever felt anything at all in their hearts. Be prepared for a worthwhile week on the couch with the Kleenex box.
- @AelinBaggins of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

A double narrative award-winning story of a young blind French girl and a radio operative German boy who works for the Nazis, paths collide. This book really reminded me of 'The Book Thief' by Markus Zusak, I loved this book for its stunning visuals and its quotable quotes, it really was gut-wrenching as everyone says so.
- @Florence of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

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Liber_vermis
May 19, 2017

I was mesmerized by the pair of plots to read on to discover how the German and French characters would meet - and the consequences. Unfortunately, I felt disappointed as the various plot lines seemed to evaporate toward the end of the book. Also, some technical details were annoyingly wrong such as repeated use of the words "anti-air battery" (anti-aircraft battery), "razor wire" (barbed wire), and "jumpsuit" (overalls). The author provides a chilling portrayal of youth indoctrination to fascist gang mentality which resonates with current events.

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sijohnson0706
Apr 22, 2017

This book is very worth reading!

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andreavotto
Apr 13, 2017

I enjoyed this book but I was not blown away by it. I love the 2 separate stories, and the language is so vivid. It's definitely one of those books you can lose yourself in.

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hsalen
Apr 12, 2017

Very eloquently written, but it was just too slow for me. I couldn't make it past the halfway point, I just didn't feel invested in the characters. I wasn't motivated to keep reading. Just wasn't for me I guess!

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tenwen
Mar 28, 2017

LOVED this book. So beautifully written and Doerr did an excellent job of weaving different characters' stories together. Also interesting to see how he 'ended' the characters' stories. The beginning was a bit slow, so make sure you power through it.


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