All the Light We Cannot See, Paperback

All the Light We Cannot See Paperback

3 out of 5 (2 ratings)


WINNER OF THE 2015 PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER WINNER OF THE CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR FICTION A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel 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 'Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.' For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes.

The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home.

The microscopic layers within the invaluable diamond that her father guards in the Museum of Natural History.

The walled city by the sea, where father and daughter take refuge when the Nazis invade Paris. And a future which draws her ever closer to Werner, a German orphan, destined to labour in the mines until a broken radio fills his life with possibility and brings him to the notice of the Hitler Youth.

In this magnificent, deeply moving novel, the stories of Marie-Laure and Werner illuminate the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.




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Review by

A Second World War novel that ISN'T about the holocaust - and is probably all the better for it. What did it mean to be French in occupied France - or an army-age German in Hitler's Germany? The book flits between the two protagonists whose lives are destined to collide, and I was eager to reach the denouement ... but it felt a little anti-climactic. Still finely written though.

Review by

Between this and <i>Gone With The Wind</i>, I am nearly <i>un</i>-reading books at the moment. Anthony Doerr's prize-winning novel is undoubtedly politically correct and historically informative - I didn't know about St Malo - but dear lord! Ponderous isn't the word. I kept falling asleep and dreaming my own paragraphs. The plot sounds intriguing - a blind girl living in Paris moves to St Malo with her father, who has been entrusted with a rare diamond called the 'Sea of Flames', and - eventually - crosses paths with a young German soldier on the night when St Malo is bombed to bits by the Allies. And that - bar a whole lot of backstory and jumping back and forth between curious, vulnerable Marie-Laure and intelligent, introspective Werner - is that, for 500 pages. I didn't connect with any of the characters, who read - possibly intentionally - like figures in a fairytale, and started page counting very early on. When I finally did reach the final chapters, Doerr adopted the annoying trick of skipping ahead thirty years, and then seventy years, presuming that all readers prefer nice, neat endings. Plodding and predictable.