All the Light We Cannot See

  • by Anthony Doerr
  • Narrated by Zach Appelman
  • 16 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is 12, 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, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Afraid to Write a "Less-Than-Positive" Review

I'm embarrassed and a little afraid to admit I was not a big fan of this book. One reviewer said that if you didn't like it, then you must be jealous of the author. Trust me. I am not jealous. I just have another opinion.

I thought this was a beautiful story. The characters were all well developed and I really got to know them. I loved that the author chose to write about teenagers and that one of the main characters was blind actually enhanced the book for me. The unbelievable horror of war and how it effects everyone was very well portrayed.

I have listened to many books that are not linear and usually enjoyed them. This book jumps back and forth in time, place and character over and over again. The narrator doesn't change his voice for the characters, so in the moment it took me to figure out where "we" were now, I would miss something. I do think this probably works better in written format.

However, the part I didn't like is what most people love and will probably make it win many awards. I found the book too descriptive and too poetic. Like another reviewer said, there were just too many metaphors. I got lost in the sugary details. I didn't enjoy the scientific detail, either. I don't care how many teeth a snail has. For me, it just got in the way. I can't wait until my daughter finishes reading it so I can get her opinion. Plus, even though I listened to the ending twice, I still am not sure what happened to the "stone".
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- Elizabeth

Time well spent

What made the experience of listening to All the Light We Cannot See the most enjoyable?

As someone who is legally blind, I loved reading how Doer brought to life the world of a young blind girl. That is the thing that initially caught my attention when I heard the NY Times review of this novel.


Who was your favorite character and why?

Oh, I just adore the character of Etienne, the uncle who must decide whether to sink into the PTSD he incurred during The Great War--or whether to help his blind niece during WWII. His character is so intricate, so damaged, and so lovely. I really cherish the relationship he develops with Marie Luare (not sure If I'm spelling that right, because I can't see how the author spells it).


If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Friendship across enemy lines.


Any additional comments?

The NY Times made a comment that Anthony Doer could be a literary writer. I already considered him so, and partly listened to this book to prove the Times wrong. Happy to say, I believe fervently that this is a very strong literary foray. I don't know what other category I'd put it in. Very strong story, strong writing, and good characters who develop and learn.

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- Annie M.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-06-2014
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio