All the Light We Cannot See

Customer Reviews

1,337 Ratings

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4 out of 5 stars
By MB on 10-05-14

Great story, woeful narration

Would you listen to All the Light We Cannot See again? Why?

No, the narrator makes too many jarring errors of pronunciation.

What didn’t you like about Julie Teal’s performance?

Too many mispronunciations. For example, navy - in a passage describing how huge trees were cut down to make masts for ships - the French & British navies become "navvies". Seriously - why didn't someone stop her? So many mistakes I found myself calling out the correction "Not 'straff' - STRAFE!" Just hope I didn't do it on the train.

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25 of 25 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By bignewshound on 04-10-16


If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

Great novel - almost a masterpiece but no one should have to suffer this narration.

What was one of the most memorable moments of All the Light We Cannot See?

Julie Teal's mispronunciations: 'Pistol Packing Maar Maar' - hilarious. As if read by a gawky public schoolgirl. So many mistakes. Embarrassing. The producer was not fit for purpose. The talent was miscast. And she clearly DIDN'T PREPARE. She just turned up and read it. BADLY. 'd think twice about casting her again. JCA, take note.

What didn’t you like about Julie Teal’s performance?

It was an insult to the novel. Re-voice it. Julie Teal cannot do this type of narration.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

All the above for the right reasons reading it ...and for the wrong reasons listening

Any additional comments?

I love this book. It is almost a masterpiece. But how can Anthony Doerr, his agent and his publisher have allowed this abysmal narration to be released. It is laughable at times and pitiful at others. I counted 11 mispronunciations in the first 90 minutes. What was poor Julie Teal's producer doing. Not listening to the recording, clearly. Absolutely awful. She's a great actor but - like quite a few TV actors - Anna Chancellor is another - dreadful as a VO and audio artist. So sad where there are some really great narrators out there who know how to do it. Please Please get rid of this version and get a competent performer to re-voice this. At least this shows that this kind of work is not easy. Too many sub-standard people are now muscling in on this. Audible is partly to blame. Please, install some quality control. You are important enough now to take a stand on behalf of your customers.

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23 of 23 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By James on 02-06-15

Despite the narrator

Technically exquisite writing - esp from the close pov of the blind girl - and the research a little too heavy to always convince as the characters' knowledge and not the writer unable to resist sharing his long hours in the library, but a story both epic and intimate, sustained and sincere, if sentimental. The narrator is almost comically inadequate. That she struggles with French and German words I can understand - but English, too? Navvies, noted in a review above, is a favourite, but her pronunciation of 'extravagance' is the best, and may outlast the memory of the book itself for me. Wasn't anybody at the recording listening to her? These errors were so numerous I decided to make them added pleasures, but, yes, the writer and the readers deserve better.

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13 of 13 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Claire on 02-10-16

Two sides to every story

Would you consider the audio edition of All the Light We Cannot See to be better than the print version?

No. Although it is very well performed, and the act of listening to this time-shifting and disorientating novel relates very well to the experience of the story's blind heroin, who has to rely much more on her other senses (particularly touch and sound), I think this is a novel better read in print as the point of view changes rapidly from segment to segment (there are no 'chapters' as such) and it's easier to immerse yourself in the written word in this case: so much of the novel is interior thoughts rather than dialogue, which somehow feels more personal when read by yourself.

What other book might you compare All the Light We Cannot See to, and why?

Any war literature - All Quiet on the Western Front for its German perspective, and even a touch of Anne Frank in the tale of Marie Laure as she is confined to the indoors for a large part of the novel, and is constantly in danger of discovery for her household's role in the Resistance. It has a touch of fantasy with the folklore surrounding the diamond, and it could also be viewed as the tale of an orphaned young girl during occupied France.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I fear I shouldn't say due to spoilers, but I really liked the way the time shifts gradually revealed missing details to the reader without losing any sense of the tension the characters experience.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I liked hearing Werner's interior thoughts, especially that he just wanted to stay in that moment and that place for a thousand years, knowing he would want nothing else.

Any additional comments?

At the beginning of the novel, I feared it would unfold like a Dan Brown - too much jarring American-english, impossible situations too heroically overcome - but the characterisation and themes are too intense for that to happen: the horrors of WW2 are always shocking and gut-wrenching to read about, and several incidents in this novel offer no exception (spoilers: the Vienna incident; Frederick, his Mother; Volkheimer's actions; Jutta and Fray Elena's horrific ordeal; Daniel leBlanc's pitifully optimistic letters to try to protect his daughter; all the loss of life), so it's no fluffy, escapist read.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Nicola on 11-17-15

Fabulous story, marred by distracting narration

Would you consider the audio edition of All the Light We Cannot See to be better than the print version?

Haven't read the print version but many times wished I was reading it myself to avoid the many jolting mispronunciations by the narrator. They were very distracting and such a shame as it spoilt the flow of the story for me. So, no, I'd recommend the print version for that reason!

What was one of the most memorable moments of All the Light We Cannot See?

I loved the story, the characters and the vivid settings. The account of Werner's schooling at the hands of the Third Reich was really chilling, especially the victimisation of his friend Frederick.

Would you be willing to try another one of Julie Teal’s performances?

No I don't think so. She has a lovely clear voice and I trusted her to tell the story, but there were just too many bizarre errors in pronunciation.

Any additional comments?

A wonderful book that deserved better attention to detail in the production of this audio version.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By uccellina on 09-24-16


Turgid prose plus distracting narration make this a painful listen. Those who like redundant adverbs/adjectives crammed into every available space and have nostalgic thoughts of a British ladies with apparent social aspirations might enjoy it.

As a rule, I don't mind eccentric pronunciations but these are constantly shifting (e.g. Marie is variously pronounced Mary, Murray, Marray etc.) and therefore confusing and distracting. Many pronunciations of foreign words are outright incomprehensible and rather a lot of English words read with great affectation. These factors would be outweighed by an otherwise strong performance or a great book but this felt like a book read aloud in a classroom with the pronunciations a jarring distraction. The mind can never sink in to enjoy the story.

I don't think I would have loved this book if I'd read it myself - it's bloated - but the narration really killed it for me.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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