Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See is a novel set during World War II that tells the story of two young people, one from Germany and one from France, whose lives intersect in unexpected ways. Marie-Laure is a blind French girl who has been living with her father in Paris since she was six years old when bombings forced them to flee their home town. Werner is an orphan boy who, at twelve years old, has become a master radio operator for the German army. When Marie-Laure’s father entrusted her prized possession, a unique diamond called the Sea of Flames, to Werner for safekeeping just before he went into hiding himself, neither could have imagined how closely their lives would be bound together over the coming months and years. AsMarie-Laurie and Werner struggle against seemingly insurmountable odds—Werner fights on the front lines of battle while Marie-Laure hides in occupied territory—their connection becomes one of mutual respect and understanding forged against impossible circumstances. Doerr’s beautiful prose makes All The Light We Cannot See poetic yet devastatingly realistic; it is no wonder that Oprah Winfrey selected it as part of her Book Club Picks roster late last year (and why I devoured it over the course of a single weekend).
For who is this book for ?
All the Light We Cannot See is for fans of literary fiction, particularly those with an interest in World War II-era stories. Marie-Laure and Werner’s perspectives as two young people trying to survive in a world at war are fascinating, lending the novel heartrending emotionality. It also doesn’t hurt that Doerr’s writing is stunningly beautiful, making for a thoroughly immersive reading experience.
- The story is beautifully written and flows seamlessly
- The characters are richly drawn and engaging
- It provides a unique perspective on World War II that is both informative and heartbreaking
- The beginning is a bit slow
- The ending wasn’t as strong as the rest of the book
- Some parts are written in such descriptive detail that they can be a little boring
Learn more about the author
Anthony Doerr is the author of two books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel All the Light We Cannot See. He has won numerous awards for his writing, including a National Magazine Award and four O. Henry Prizes. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Tin House, One Story, and Prairie Schooner. He lives in Boise with his wife and children.
“All the Light We Cannot See is exquisitely written and rich with symbolism. The characters are finely drawn, and even minor players seem to have lives of their own.”
“All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr’s follow-up to his Pulitzer Prize-winning Memory Wall, is a novel set during World War II that tells the story of two young people whose lives intersect in unexpected ways. Marie-Laure is a blind French girl who has been living with her father in Paris since she was six years old when bombings forced them to flee their home town. Werner is an orphaned German boy who, at twelve years old, has become a master radio operator for the Third Reich and those are just the broad strokes of their individual backstories. When Marie Laure’s father entrusted her prized possession -a unique diamond called The Sea Of Flames- to Werner for safekeeping just before he went into hiding himself They could have never imagined how closely their lives would be bound together over coming months and year as they both struggle against seemingly insurmountable odds.”
“Beautiful and poetic… it will stay with me for a long time.”
“A luminous, magnificent work of art.”