Cover Image: All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See

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Member Reviews

This turned out to really not be my cup of tea. I couldn't finish this book as I just could not get into it. 

DNF at 50%.
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Posted at: https://thereadingreaper.blogspot.com/2017/08/45-all-light-we-cannot-see.html

I read somewhere that it took the author 10 years to finish this story so my expectations were pretty high, this did not disappoint. I loved it. The writing style is so beautiful. The way the stories weave into each other is so masterfully done. The author manages to make you care about every single character.

The story is set in both Germany and France during the midst of world war ll. In Germany we follow the story of a young boy, Werner is a gifted child who is enlisted into the Hitler youth and sent to fight a war that he does not believe in. As a child he was an orphan who lived in a childrens home with his younger sister, Jutta. He spends his days fixing radios and building technology with spare parts until at the age of 13 he is sent away.

Marie-Laure lives in France and is a young blind girl. She lives with her father whom she is dependant on. Her father builds her mini models of the streets so she can learn to navigate unaided through the streets. When the Germans invade Paris Marie-Laure and her father are forced to flee to Saint Malo where they seek the shelter of her great uncle Etienne. Etienne is a 60 year old agoraphobic who is affected really badly from PTSD. When Marie-Laures father is arrested and moved to Germany she is left in the care of her great uncle and his house keeper, Madame Manec. Etienne owns one of the last remaining radios in France and broadcasts secret messages for the resistance.

When Werner hears Etienne and Marie-Laure's broadcasts he makes the decision to abadon his post and try to rescue them.

The story follows the lives of several characters throughout time, the plot ranges from when Marie-Laure and Werner are six until present day. There is a lot of sadness in this story and at times it can be a difficult read.
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I am incredibly glad I picked this book back up. I first attempted to read it a few years ago, after it won several awards and was being lauded as simply amazing. I was apparently not in a good place for its complex seriousness as I couldn't get myself interested in the story. This time around, historical fiction was back to being my jam. I picked up the audio, which was a fantastic way to experience this story...especially given the attention of the novel to the sense of hearing via the radio and use of Marie-Laure's blindness as a plot device.

It is indeed a complex narration and there is so much thought and historical significance in the things that are included in the story. The writing is fantastic, detailed, and occasionally overwhelming in its comprehensive view of the situation. The bifurcation of the narrative into both Marie-Laure and Werner's individual stories was a brilliant way to construct this novel and it is filled with a view of war from their young and impressionable experience.

I loved the way this book moved and how it simultaneously endeared me and disgusted me. World War II is an oft discussed historical topic, but there was something so intrinsically different to this story. It was magical and beautiful while at the same time being terrifyingly heartbreaking and painful. It is certainly a must read, both from a standpoint of historical significance and one of artistic wonder.
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It took me a while to get into this book, but Doerr’s writing is so hauntingly beautiful I had to keep reading. This books is well deserving of all the praise it’s received.
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This book was amazing. I have always liked reading about WWII, and have read quite a few fiction books. This book however, really affected me emotionally! I became involved in the story immediately and was absorbed by it until the very last page.

This book is about the German occupation of France, and is seen mostly through the eyes of a young German boy, Werner, and Marie Laure, a blind girl who loses her sight at the age of six. The book goes back and forth from 1934 through the 1940's and also has a chapter in 1974 and again in 2014, at the end. 

I really see why this book won a Pulitzer prize. It is a beautifully written novel, with so much attention given to describing the countries, the fall out of war, and even the food and dress of each person. The book follows several characters from the beginning and when Marie Laure and Werner meet and the details that bind them together, although not long physically but mentally for their lives.

It also talks about the fallouts the War causes everyone, in particular a boy named Frederick and the suffering he endured by the German boys his age at school. The book also talks about the fact that the german boy Werner is so intelligent at such a young age and how this worked against him in the long run.

I will always remember this book, and feel like everyone who studies History should read this book and fiction lovers as well this truly is the best kind of fiction to me, Historical fiction. I gave this book 5 Stars and now will go on and read more by this author! Thank you Anthony Doerr for a brilliant book!
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Fantastic book that I highly recommend. The two intertwining stories were beautifully written and told with sensitivity and a depth of emotion that took my breath away. A difficult subject to tackle, but the author managed to do so with ease. Loved it! A very easy 5 stars.
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A young French girl, Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. At 12 years old, the Nazis occupy Paris, and she flees to Saint-Malo to live with her great uncle in a big house by the sea. They bring the most valuable and dangerous jewel with them from the museum.
In Germany, an orphan boy named Werner Pfennig grows up with his younger sister. They are enchanted by a radio they find as they can listen to the news and stories from places they’ve never seen. He becomes an expert in building and fixing these instruments and is enlisted to track down the resistance.

Very detailed and the characters were easy to fall in love with. It’s very emotional and the ending left me in tears. That said, you really have to be interested in this period of history and enjoy a slower paced book to enjoy reading it.
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What a wonderful book! From the first page it had me gripped. The two intertwining stories are intricate and interesting without overstepping the mark and becoming  unnecessarily complicated. This was a book where I was keen top read on and find out what was happening - I worried about Marie-Laure and Werner when I wasn't reading!
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This  book is so stunning and relevant. A must read! This subject is always hard to read but this book and it’s characters are so relatable. I could not put it down.
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I absolutely loved this book.  The characters were very well fleshed out and the story was engrossing.
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After having heard massive praise for this book, my expectations were sky high. I'm happy to report I wasn't disappointed in the slightest. All the Light We Cannot See is a wonderful read in all possible ways.

Masterfully narrated, this book introduces us to the lives of French Marie Laure and German Werner immediately before the start of World War II. A sad chapter of human history that many before have covered before, here is presented from a fresh perspective. we follow our protagonists as history slowly takes their lives over, turning their world upside down. For Marie Laure, change starts when she is forced to leave Paris with her beloved father and, through various twists of fate, ends up in Saint Malo, where she will form an unlikely bond with her reclusive great uncle. For poor, orphan Werner, fate comes knocking as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to escape his fate in the local mines by enrolling in an exclusive school where his talents will be cultivated.

The cast of characters is as varied as it is colourful, and even the most minor characters feel fully developed, with their own personalities, dreams and fears, and they linger in memory long after the final page has been turned. Marie Laure and Werner, however, hold a special place in my heart. Marie Laure is blind, but still manages to see more than most, and her relationship with her father first and her great uncle Etienne later were some of the most tender I can remember reading recently. Werner is stuck between his dreams and his fears, honestly drawn with all his complexities and mistakes, but is ultimately ready to do anything to achieve redemption. He represents all those good people in difficult situations anywhere at any time who, for various reasons, end up on the wrong side of history and have to live with the consequences of that... or fight against their seemingly sealed fate.

Overall, an absolutely excellent read. I simply could not put this book down (and I may or may not have missed my stop on the train because of this...), and even weeks after having finished it, it lingers in my thoughts. Absolutely recommended to everyone!
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This book sucked me in. I was so invested in the main characters. The author did a tremendous job of describing the surroundings -- without overdescribing -- that I had an easy time imagining the characters in all of the settings. (Overdescribe is a real pet peeve for me.)
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I really love this book. It was super reminiscent of The Book Thief, while being different and its own story. One of the characters is blind and I found myself closing my eyes to feel what she feels because it was so realistic- though obviously you can't read with your eyes closed! I did find this quite slow but not necessarily a in bad way, I was just savouring it
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I absolutely looked this book!!!! I couldn't put it down from the first chapter. very well written.
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Set in both France and Germany during the Second World War, it tells the tale of Marie-Laure who is blind and initially a recluse in her own home.  Her father builds her a model of their neighbourhood in Paris which she has to learn to follow by heart before she can be allowed outside on her own.  For me this was the best part of the story - following her journey and progress and of how frightening it must be to become blind and of how to live your life once more.  The story also takes us to the other side of the war into Germany and of brother and sister Werner and Jutta.  Werner can make radios come to life and his talent does not go unnoticed by the Nazi party.  Soon he is drafted into a war as part of the Hitler Youth and his path will eventually cross with that of Marie-Laure's.  The main part of the story is set in Saint-Malo as the invasion by the Germans enters into France and Marie-Laure is forced into hiding.  Her father has vanished, and with him, the possible diamond that is housed in the Museum of Natural History.  There are some who would kill for that stone, and this endangers Marie-Laure further.  Who to trust and who not to trust in a war of two sides?  For Werner and Marie-Laure this becomes a matter of life and death.

I guess I should have known that I wouldn't fall in love with this book.  It's not necessarily the fault of the book but I don't think I've ever enjoyed a prize-winning novel; I sometimes find them a bit too 'above' me if that makes sense.  However, that is not to say that All the Light we Cannot See is not a good book; I just didn't think it was a great book but there are many more who would disagree with me as in some parts it is both incredibly beautiful and gripping.
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This book is absolutely phenomenal. A really strong World War Two based story, of two very different lives that come to meet. I thoroughly enjoyed this!
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Loved this book. Could not put it down. Had me hooked from the first page
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