All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr

When Marie Laure goes blind, aged six, her father builds her a model of their Paris neighborhood, so she can memorize it with her fingers and then navigate the real streets. But when the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.

In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, is enchanted by a crude radio. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent ultimately makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.

Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr 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 his most ambitious and dazzling work.

Reviews of All the Light We Cannot See

  • ‘Far more than a conventional war story, It’s a tightly focused epic … Doerr paints with a rich palette, using prose that resonates deeply and conveys the ephemera of daily existence along with high drama, sadness and hope … A bittersweet and moving novel that lingers in the mind’ Daily Mail

    ‘An epic work about bravery and the power of attachment’ Rose Tremain, Observer, Books of the Year

    ‘An epic and a masterpiece’ Justin Cartwright, Observer

    ‘This novel will be a piece of luck for anyone with a long plane journey or beach holiday ahead. It is such a page-turner, entirely absorbing… magnificent’ Guardian

    ‘Doerr can bring a scene to life in a single paragraph … Delicate and moving … the novel takes hold and will not easily let go’ The Times

    ‘Boy meets girl in Anthony Doerr’s hauntingly beautiful new book, but the circumstances are as elegantly circuitous as they can be’ The New York Times

    ‘I’m not sure I will read a better novel this year … Enthrallingly told, beautifully written and so emotionally plangent that some passages bring tears’ Washington Post

    ‘This jewel of a story is put together like a vintage timepiece … Doerr’s writing and imagery are stunning. It’s been a while since a novel had me under its spell in this fashion.’ Abraham Verghese

    ‘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