I recommend reading this on the coast, in the bath, at your desk, in bed, with your legs tucked up under you in the sun. I do not recommend reading it on the bus. Because whatever part you're reading on the bus will be the part that makes you cry. But do read it. It's a marvel. Recommended By Tove H., Powells.com
Doerr creates a haunting masterpiece of WWII fiction with All the Light We Cannot See. Weaving together the stories of a 17-year-old German soldier and a 16-year-old blind French girl, Doerr shows all the hell of war but also the beauty of humanity. I raced through this completely riveting 500-page book in three days, desperately hoping for an outcome that wasn't horrific. St. Malo, the walled coastal city in France, becomes a character in its own right: both utterly charming yet frighteningly overrun with Nazis.
Radio technology, three-dimensional maps, and a priceless jewel drive the plot, but the real kernel of truth here is the absolute transcendence of human kindness over the most unimaginable circumstances. The raw emotion with which Doerr anoints his story bumps it up into a class beyond your average WWII novel into the status of a modern classic. Doerr's profound book is a must-read. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
The most acclaimed and beloved novel of 2014, over a half year on the New York Times bestseller list—“hauntingly beautiful” (The New York Times), “incandescent, luminous, enthralling” (O, The Oprah Magazine).
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History where he works. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris, and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. They carry with them perhaps the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a German mining town, an orphan named Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. He becomes expert at fixing these new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the Resistance. Increasingly aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.
Anthony Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is a “beautiful, daring, heartbreaking, oddly joyous novel” (The Seattle Times) from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).
About the Author
Anthony Doerr is the author of the story collections Memory Wall and The Shell Collector, the novels All the Light We Cannot See and 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.