Since the release of his first story collection in 2002, Anthony Doerr has been hailed as a major literary talent. He's been awarded four O. Henry Prizes, the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, three Pushcart Prizes, the Story Prize, and a host of other awards and honors. In 2007, Granta
even named him one of 21 Best Young American Novelists. Still, despite all the acclaim, one wonders if fans will be quite prepared for his new book. Doerr's fifth book and second novel is a truly magnificent achievement, the kind that anchors a body of work and redefines a career.
All the Light We Cannot See tells the parallel stories of a blind French girl and a young German radio engineer during World War II. Whether he's describing the locks in Paris's National Museum of Natural History, the history of a notorious diamond, or the streets of a medieval French port, Doerr lends an expert's eye to the details of the world he brings to life. But what truly elevates his second novel is how skillfully he uses each of his lyrical, evocative sentences, one after the other, to gradually reveal the complex inner lives of his truly memorable cast of characters. Abraham Verghese wrote: "It's been a while since a novel had me under its spell in this fashion," and we, too, feel absolutely enchanted by this book.
Also in your package, you'll find a signed paperback original of The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison. We can't say enough about this extraordinary collection of essays, though Jill gave it a shot: "I can't think of another book I've recommended to so many people so fiercely. I'm already happy to declare it the best nonfiction book of 2014."
In the spirit of empathy, we've also included one of San Francisco artist Agelio Batle's die-pressed graphite hearts. Specially designed to be used as a writing tool without smudging the skin, these remarkable little sculptures are as beautiful as they are functional.