Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “All the Light We Cannot See” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
All the Light We Canno...
 
by
Anthony Doerr
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

All the Light We Cannot See

by
4.33  ·  Rating details ·  808,535 ratings  ·  66,866 reviews
This edition has been cancelled by the publisher.
Paperback, 544 pages
Published 2017 by Scribner (first published May 6th 2014)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about All the Light We Cannot See, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Sam Abney
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
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)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  808,535 ratings  ·  66,866 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
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
...more
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
...more
Melanie
Oct 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Rick Riordan
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Becky
May 06, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
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
...more
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
...more
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
...more
Michael Finocchiaro
Honestly, wtf? I mean, we all know the blind person trope (Daredevil, etc) and the lovable Nazi trope (Hiroshima Mon Amour) and the mystical object searched for by evil Nazis trope (Indiana Jones), so why throw all of these together? The book was readable but no more so than a pulp fiction thriller. Honestly, I don't see this as being Pulitzer quality. The characters were ok, the narration interesting, but a masterpiece? The best US fiction in 2015? Perhaps not. And please don't accuse me of bei ...more
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
...more
Jim Fonseca
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
This is a great book. Its very high ratings (4.3; half of the ratings are "5's") renews my faith that GR ratings count for something. With almost 50,000 reviews on GR I don’t feel there is a lot for me to add but here’s a brief summary of the plot and I’ll give a few examples of the great literary writing.

It’s just before the Nazi invasion and occupation of Paris. A young blind girl relies on her father for everything and she is his world as well. He spends all his time making her a wooden model
...more
Caz (littlebookowl)
This book was so beautiful and haunting. I fell in love with so many of the characters, and loved how their lives were weaved together. Knowing the time period this was set in, I knew the ending would hurt. And it did, though I didn't shed as many tears as I expected.
The writing was incredible, the descriptions so vivid. It did a superb job of showing the reader how the characters felt through their actions, rather than telling. Whilst the short chapters (on average 1.5 pages) helped to make thi
...more
Miranda Reads
Why are all prize winning books so depressing?

Do the Pulitzer Prize judges immediately disqualify fun books? Seriously, I don't think I've seen a happy one yet.
Don’t you want to be alive before you die?
We follow two storylines - one set in Germany focused on Werner Pfennig, an orphan, who's always dreamed of an education.

He finally gets an opportunity, through the brutal tutelage of the Nazis.

And we follow Marie-Laure, a french blind girl much beloved by her father, a locksmith of the Muse
...more
Dem
Jan 11, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: book club read
Shelves: ww2
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
...more
Angela M
Dec 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Candace
So, I know I should be oohing and ahhing over this book, but it just wasn't for me. This is definitely one of those "it's not you, it's me" moments. I can see why many people have given such glowing reviews, but I found it to be unbearably dull and slow-moving. I never felt a strong connection with either of the main characters or the story itself. I'm just glad that it ended.
Diane S ☔
Dec 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Matthew
I think that my opinion of this book does not match the general opinion.

I was pretty bored throughout and my mind kept wandering. I kept waiting for a big payoff, plot twist, that would bring my attention crashing back. I thought there might be some grand resolution beyond the symbolism and poetry of the writing, and there really didn't seem to be. Maybe I missed it while my mind was wandering.

Two other things - I have been encountering these a lot lately:

- WWII is now definitely entrenched as a
...more
jessica
May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.’

reading this story reminded me of eating a decadent chocolate cake - so rich and filling that you are only able to eat a couple of bites at a time. meaning this book took me sooo long to finish because there was just so much to savour, so much to appreciate.

had this been any other book, i might have complained that it was too slow paced, too dense, too tedious. but i didnt think any of that with this story, regardless of
...more
Raeleen Lemay
Jun 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
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
...more
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
Steve
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Charlotte May
Haunting, harrowing, heartbreaking.
This book was an incredible depiction of the Second World War, told from the point of view of two characters in very different circumstances.
Switching between narratives following Marie-Laure, a young blind girl living in France with her father, a museum caretaker. Forced to flee Paris, Marie Laure's father carries the real one of 4 copies made of the legendary 'sea of flames' a jewel said to bring bad luck and destruction on whoever holds it.
The second narr
...more
David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party
"Book - you have the right to a speedy trial" - review

THE DEFENSE
- The story is both heart-warming and heart-breaking at times. Anyone looking for a good cry (or an ugly cry, or a proud cry, or, well, any kind of cry, really), this is the book for you!

- Both lead characters are extremely likable and sympathetic.

- The book does a brilliant job portraying the bleakness and tragedy of war and the many different ways it can affect people's lives.

- Werner's story is particularly effective. Wat
...more
Matt
"So how, children, does the brain, which lives without a spark of light, build for us a world full of light?
- Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

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 routi
...more
Diane
Is this the best World War II novel I've ever read? Possibly. It's definitely at the top of the list.*

Once again, I'm a little late to this book party, but I'm glad I made an appearance. So many readers had loved this book (and now that I've read it, I can see why it's such a favorite), but I kept putting it off because I've grown weary of WWII stories. Seriously, there is so much published about that period that it's overwhelming to sift through all the titles.**

But there are several things ab
...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
...more
Maureen
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
* I received a free copy from Netgalley, so thank you to them*

Saint Malo is one of my favourite places in France, it's a joy strolling its historic cobbled streets on a warm sunny day, but the St Malo depicted in this story is as far removed from the one in MY memory as it's possible to get. Set against the backdrop of World War II, France is under German occupation, St Malo under siege, and then finally the city comes under aerial attack. There are parallel lives here in the guise of Marie-Laur
...more
Adina
How do I review a novel that most of my friends loved but left me mainly indifferent. Again, I have a case when I feel guilty for not liking a book more and trying to figure out what is wrong with me. Since that failed I will try my luck explaining what this novel did or didn’t do for me.

Firstly, the writing. It is beautiful, intricate, full of elegant, well thought sentences. However, they let me untouched. I don’t know why but I did not feel anything when reading those polished words. Maybe,
...more
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
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Where'd You Go, Bernadette
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
  • The Underground Railroad
  • The Handmaid's Tale
  • Lord of the Flies
  • A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet, #1)
  • Anna Karenina
  • Beartown (Beartown, #1)
  • The Invention of Wings
  • Paris
  • Speak
  • Burial Rites
  • The Tsar of Love and Techno
  • The Book of Unknown Americans
  • The Lowland
  • The Lotus Eaters
  • White Oleander
  • An Unnecessary Woman
See similar books…
9,074 followers
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
“Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.” 2206 likes
“But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don't you do the same?” 1030 likes
More quotes…