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All the Light We Cannot See

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4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  186,071 ratings  ·  25,121 reviews
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, a stunningly ambitious and beautiful 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.

Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master o
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ebook, 597 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Scribner (first published 2014)
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Kim My mother was in Hitler's Youth. It was not optional. Not doing so would bring harm/death to your family/self. Knowing what I do abouit Berlin and the…moreMy mother was in Hitler's Youth. It was not optional. Not doing so would bring harm/death to your family/self. Knowing what I do abouit Berlin and the accounts my mother has shared with me, I always say the first country Hitler invaded was Germay. (less)
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LeeAnne

All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr


This book has the most hauntingly beautiful prose I've ever read. It's brimming with rich details that fill all five senses simultaneously. It's full of beautiful metaphors that paint gorgeous images. I didn't want this book to end, but I couldn't put it down.



"In August 1944 the historic walled city of Saint-Malo, the brightest jewel of the Emerald Coast of Brittany, France was almost destroyed by fire....Of the 865 buildings within the walls, only 18
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Melanie
I always thought, or imagined, that there were these invisible lines trembling in our wake, outlining our trajectories through life, throbbing with electric energy. Lines that sometimes cross one other, or follow in parallel ellipses without ever touching, or meet up for one brief moment and then part. A universe of lines crisscrossing in the void.

Anthony Doerr's astonishing new novel "All The Light We Cannot See" follows the complex arcs of two such invisible lines through the lives of Werner P
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Emily May
“So how, children, does the brain, which lives without a spark of light, build for us a world full of light?”

I'm going to be honest - love for this book didn't hit me straight away. In fact, my first attempt to read it last year ended with me putting it aside and going to find something easier, lighter and less descriptive to read. I know - meh, what a quitter.

But this book is built on beautiful imagery. Both in the literal sense - the physical world of 1940s Paris/Germany - and the metaphoric
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Rick Riordan
Adult fiction

This book is getting a lot of well-deserved attention for its unique story and its beautiful writing. It starts late in World War II, as the Allies begin shelling the French city of Saint-Malo to drive out the remaining Nazi troops. Our two main characters are Marie Laure, a blind French girl who fled here with her uncle from Paris, and Werner, a radio expert in the German army who is stuck in the city when the attack begins. We jump back and forth in time, and between the two char
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Becky
I'm sure this is going to mark me as a literary dud, but for all the brilliant reviews of this book? I couldn't really get into it.

The book revolves around Marie-Laure, a blind girl who lives with her father. Her father is the locksmith at the Paris Museum of Natural History, and Marie is raised wholly in the museum and at home. Marie has a semi-idyllic childhood until the Nazi's invade Paris and she and her father have to flee to another city, where a reclusive uncle lives. Unknown to Marie, he
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Jenna
It has been awhile since I have found a book that I wanted to read slowly so that I could soak in every detail in hopes that the last page seems to never come.

When reading the synopsis of this novel, I never imagined that I would feel so connected to a book where one of the main characters is blind and the other a brilliant young German orphan who was chosen to attend a brutal military academy under Hitler's power using his innate engineering skills.

This novel was so much more than the above st
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Chrissie
Why write a review if I am such an atypical reader?

I will keep this brief since I feel most readers will not react as I have, but isn’t it important that all views are voiced?

All readers must agree that the flipping back and forth between different time periods makes this book more confusing. I believe it must be said loudly and clearly that the current fascination with multiple threads and time shifts is only acceptable when they add something to the story, when employment of such improves the
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Dem
I enjoyed this novel by Anthony Doerr and yet when I was nearing the end I couldn't help feel a a sense of relief to have finished the book.

I enjoy historical fiction and really looked forward to this novel by Anthony Doerr as it was set in a time frame that that really interests me. Because I read quite a lot of novels set around World War Two I love the fact that the author took a a slightly different path with his storytelling and that is what drew me to this novel.

I loved the characters of M
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Maciek
This is a carefully constructed book which is bound to captivate a large audience and become very popular, and be blessed with many warm reviews - it was chosen by Goodreads members as the best historical fiction of 2014, and shortlisted for the National Book Award. There are multiple reasons for its success - but they are also the same reasons as to why I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped I would.

Anthony Doerr's All The Light We Cannot See follows the parallel lives of two protagonists - Marie
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Will Byrnes
4/20/15 - PULITZER WINNER for 2014
The brain is locked in total darkness of course, children, says the voice. It floats in a clear liquid inside the skull, never in the light. And yet the world it constructs in the mind is full of light. It brims with color and movement. So how, children, does the brain, which lives without a spark of light, build for us a world full of light?
Marie Laure LeBlanc is a teen who had gone blind at age 6. She and her father, Daniel, fled Paris ahead of the German
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Raeleen Lemay
oK.

When I started this book, I noticed some similarities to The Book Thief, and although they quickly fell to the wayside, I couldn't help but compare this book to The Book Thief the entire time I was reading it. And since The Book Thief is my favorite book of all time, it kind of took away some of the enjoyment for me while reading this.

The plot and the characters ended up being quite different (which was great), but I just found that the pacing was a bit off for me. It was a bit too slow for m
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Angela M
What I loved most about this book was all the light that I did see. There is so much here that captivated me - from the beautiful writing to the strong, caring characters to the loving relationships and the way people touched each other's lives during the trying times of WW II.

Parallel stories are told in alternating chapters of Marie Laure, a teenage French girl who has been blind since the age of six and Werner, an intelligent, perceptive and sensitive German orphan who learns to fix radios an
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Steve Sckenda
Aug 26, 2015 Steve Sckenda rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Children in the Rubble
Recommended to Steve by: Kris
A blind girl perceives light, unseen by those with vision. Marie-Laure does not accept darkness as reality because her world consists of webs and lattices of light, reconstructed by the upheaval of her remaining senses. Mathematically, all light is invisible. Yet, light exists even when we cannot observe it, and Anthony Doerr helps us to find the many unseen lights in his orchestra of sight, sound, and texture.

What is blindness to this daughter of the gentle locksmith for the Natural History Mus
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Diane S.
For me, this was a very special read. I feel like I have been on a long gut-wrenching journey, and in a way I have, traveling with two young children, one in Berlin and one in Paris and follow them as they grow-up. There are poignant moments, downright sad moments, moments that made me smile and moments that made me so very angry. Werner in Berlin is a curious child, a child with the talent for putting things together, like radios, he and his sister Jutta live in an orphanage. Marie-Laure, a bli ...more
Nataliya
"Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever."
It's a story of childhood interrupted by war. Two children - a blind French girl Marie-Laure LeBlanc and a German orphan Werner Pfennig - caught against their will in the unrelenting forces of cruel madness and destruction of World War II, dragged along in the senseless current of history that does not care about the fates or ordinary people. This is a story of their lives until the brief moment in which they collide, to
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Steve
A book topping the charts for weeks and weeks hardly needs my help, but I’m going to do this one the favor of a recommendation anyway. For efficiency’s sake, I’ll be addressing categories of friends en masse.

To those who like big-boughed characters (i.e., more than just stick figures): You get two compelling souls with this one: Marie-Laure, the valiant and inquisitive French girl who went blind at age six, and Werner, the tow-headed German orphan who had a knack for gadgets and science. Set in
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Dianne
A 4.5....review coming. Have to ponder this a bit. It was a 5 until the last 50 pages....not sure I am being fair here. Very, very good book.

UPDATED: I received an advance reader copy of this book from NetGalley and Scribner. Thanks to NetGalley and Scribner. This review, however, is based on the hardcover version.

I have read this book twice now. The first time, the author had me in the palm of his hand. I was totally absorbed in the book and the flow and the pace of how the stories of Marie-Lau
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Violet wells
“What mazes there are in this world. The branches of trees, the filigree of roots, the matrix of crystals, the streets her father recreated in his models... None more complicated than the human brain, Etienne would say, what may be the most complex object in existence; one wet kilogram within which spin universes.”

I’m a sucker for beautiful writing and this is a very beautifully written novel. Doerr always has full imaginative command of his detail and, even if occasionally he feeds too much pr
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Laz
Dec 26, 2014 Laz rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, every one
We all come into existence as a single cell, smaller than a speck of dust. Much smaller. Divide. Multiply. Add and subtract. Matter changes hands, atoms flow in and out, molecules pivot, proteins stitch together, mitochondria send out their oxidative dictates; we begin as a microscopic electrical swarm. The lungs the brain the heart. Forty weeks later, six trillion cells get crushed in the vise of our mother’s birth canal and we howl. Then the world starts in on us.


This is majestic. This is gr
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Michael
A wonderfully moving and lyrical account of two teenagers coming of age on opposite sides of the conflict during World War 2. One is a blind girl, Marie-Laure, living in Paris at the beginning in 1940 and then, before the German occupation, moving with her father to the walled Brittany town of Saint-Malo. The other main character is Werner, an orphan in a German industrial and mining town whose talent in fixing radios gets him sent to an elite training academy. The narrative alternates chapters ...more
Matt
I follow a very specific plan whenever a new work of popular fiction bursts upon the stage. First, I buy it, right away. Like the instant I finish reading the review in the New York Times. Second, I put the book on my shelf, as soon as I receive it. Finally, I read it, two or three or four years later, when I finally get around to it. This routine is a function of several things, chiefly a love of books, a deliberate reading speed, and also financial impulsivity. At one point my wife found this ...more
Connie
2.5, maybe 3

So I maybe cried at the end of this....because I was done, or because I was so sad that I didn't like it more, not sure which. I rarely count pages...sometimes I am just sad when I only have a few left. This one I was counting to be done! Not a good sign.

Let me say, the writing was beautiful...I kept reading descriptive passages aloud. But they were about the settings, not the characters. Doerr made the settings come alive, the poverty I saw, the bombings I heard, the dust and rot
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Jenny
I died a thousand times while reading this book. It is mysterious, heart-breaking and just brilliantly beautiful. It deserves all the stars.
Arah-Lynda
Apr 20, 2015 Arah-Lynda rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Arah-Lynda by: Jenna
‘Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood
When blackness was a virtue and the road was full of mud.
I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form.
“Come in”, she said. “I’ll give you shelter from the storm”




There is a girl:

Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, lives in Paris
with her father who works at the Museum of Natural History.
Her world is surprisingly full of colour.
She seeks her shelter in reading.

When Marie-Laure is twelve
the Nazis occupy Paris
and she and her father m
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Marialyce
This is a case of where I am going to hate myself for again feeling a book that has received a multitude of five star ratings feel short for me. It was not that I disliked it, but I found it to be jumpy and often disjointed. I am not a fan of the current trend of devoting one chapter to one character and the next to another and flipping back and forth. To my way of reading and thinking, it doesn't allow the reader (me) to gather depth of a character. It makes me overly anxious to sally forth try ...more
Rebecca Foster
Just as the lovely walled city of St. Malo stands out from the Brittany coast in France, this radiant novel distinguishes itself from a sea of World War II fiction. Marie-Laure LeBlanc, whose father is master of the locks at Paris’s Museum of Natural History, has been blind from age six but knows her surroundings perfectly, even after they move to St. Malo to shelter with her great-uncle Etienne, a hermitic snail expert. Meanwhile, in a mining town in Germany, a white-haired orphan boy named Wer ...more
Will M.
This book received tremendous amount of praise here on goodreads, so I had to give it out a try. Thankfully this didn't turn out to be one of those over-hyped books.

Marie-Laure lives with her father. When she was six she goes blind, but her father did everything to train her to master the city, by building a miniature of her neighborhood so she could memorize it. Marie-Laure's story was the most heart breaking of the two stories in this novel. As I read the novel, I managed to read about her jou
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Regan
It was amazing.
Julie
When I travel, I gravitate to the small, forgotten places—the crumbling ruins rather than the soaring cathedrals; villages with their backs turned to the road instead of bustling capital cities. I wonder at the secrets that lie within the stillness, the stories that whisper in the broken stone or behind shuttered windows.

I’d not read Anthony Doerr before All The Light We Cannot See, but as I lost myself in the delicate suite tendresse of this novel, I felt I’d found a kindred spirit. From the gr
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Sue
Anthony Doerr has now put his own stamp on the World War II novel with this story of the lives of two children of wartime: young Werner, a German orphan with dreams of mastering the world of science, and the even younger Parisian girl Marie-Laure, who becomes blind as a child and then must learn an entirely new life. Both then become wrapped up in the mechanism of war.

Doerr's prose is impeccable, precisely describing his characters, the settings whether they be in Paris, the French coast in St M
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Anthony Doerr is the author of five books, The Shell Collector , About Grace , Memory Wall , Four Seasons in Rome and All the Light We Cannot See . Doerr’s fiction has won four 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 Barnes & Noble Discov ...more
More about Anthony Doerr...
The Shell Collector: Stories Memory Wall Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World About Grace The Snake Handler

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“Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.” 650 likes
“But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don't you do the same?” 284 likes
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