Review All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr

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).

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Exquisite…Mesmerizing…Nothing short of brilliant.”–Alice Evans “Portland Oregonian ”

“Hauntingly beautiful.”–Janet Maslin “The New York Times ”

“History intertwines with irresistible fiction–secret radio broadcasts, a cursed diamond, a soldier’s deepest doubts–into a richly compelling, bittersweet package.”–Mary Pols “People (3 1/2 stars) ”

“Anthony Doerr again takes language beyond mortal limits.”–Elissa Schappell “Vanity Fair ”

“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 ”

“Stupendous…A beautiful, daring, heartbreaking, oddly joyous novel.”–David Laskin “The Seattle Times ”

“Dazzling…Startlingly fresh.”–John Freeman “The Boston Globe ”

“Gorgeous… moves with the pace of a thriller… Doerr imagines the unseen grace, the unseen light that, occasionally, surprisingly, breaks to the surface even in the worst of times.”–Dan Cryer “San Francisco Chronicle ”

“Incandescent…Mellifluous and unhurried…Characters as noble as they are enthralling. Doerr looms myriad strains into a luminous work of strife and transcendence.”–Hamilton Cain “O, the Oprah magazine ”

“Perfectly captured…Doerr writes sentences that are clear-eyed, taut, sweetly lyrical.”–Josh Cook “Minneapolis Star Tribune ”

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