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
In Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See, set in France in 1944, a 16-year-old blind French girl and a 17-year-old German soldier are on different yet converging paths. This is an amazing, masterfully executed tale. Each perfect word, each perfect sentence is magnificent. Gorgeously written scenes, whether tender or brutal, are told with precision. Characters resonate so true to their being. Read it for the sheer beauty of the words. Read it for the sheer beauty of the story. I was immersed in this time and place through this magic. Recommended By Adrienne C., 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
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, a New York Times Book Review Top Ten Book, National Book Award finalist, more than two and a half years on the New York Times bestseller list.
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the stunningly beautiful instant New York Times bestseller 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 in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. 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. With them they carry what might be the museum's most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.
Doerr's "stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors" (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer "whose sentences never fail to thrill" (Los Angeles Times).
"If a book’s success can be measured by its ability to move readers and the number of memorable characters it has, Story Prize-winner Doerr’s novel triumphs on both counts. He convinces readers...that war — despite its desperation, cruelty, and harrowing moral choices — cannot negate the pleasures of the world." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"All the Light We Cannot See is a dazzling, epic work of fiction. Anthony Doerr writes beautifully about the mythic and the intimate, about snails on beaches and armies on the move, about fate and love and history and those breathless, unbearable moments when they all come crashing together." Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins
"A tender exploration of this world's paradoxes; the beauty of the laws of nature and the terrible ends to which war subverts them; the frailty and the resilience of the human heart; the immutability of a moment and the healing power of time. The language is as expertly crafted as the master locksmith's models in the story, and the settings as intricately evoked. A compelling and uplifting novel." M.L. Stedman, author of The Light Between Oceans
"Doerr has packed each of his scenes with such refractory material that All the Light We Cannot See reflects a dazzling array of themes….Startlingly fresh." John Freeman, The Boston Globe
"Stunning and ultimately uplifting…Doerr’s not-to-be-missed tale is a testament to the buoyancy of our dreams, carrying us into the light through the darkest nights." Entertainment Weekly
"Enthrallingly told, beautifully written…Every piece of back story reveals information that charges the emerging narrative with significance, until at last the puzzle-box of the plot slides open to reveal the treasure hidden inside." Amanda Vaill, Washington Post
About the Author
Anthony Doerr is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel All the Light We Cannot See. He is also the author of two story collections Memory Wall and The Shell Collector, the novel 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.
Anthony Doerr on PowellsBooks.Blog
I'm always dispelling the notion that characters come like a light bulb over the head in cartoons. For me, it's like a shapeless big lump of clay. You just build it into something and then you step back and go, "That's not right," hack it apart, put out a new arm, and say, "Maybe this will walk around and work"...