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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

National Book Award Finalist
New York Times Bestseller

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, from the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr.
Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.
In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.
Doerr’s gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work.
©2014 Anthony Doerr (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
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Critic Reviews

“This jewel of a story is put together like a vintage timepiece … Doerr's writing and imagery are stunning. It's been a while since a novel had me under its spell in this fashion.” (Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone)
All the Light We Cannot See is a dazzling, epic work of fiction. Anthony Doerr writes beautifully about the mythic and the intimate, about snails on beaches and armies on the move, about fate and love and history and those breathless, unbearable moments when they all come crashing together.” (Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins)
“Doerr sees the world as a scientist, but feels it as a poet. He knows about everything - radios, diamonds, mollusks, birds, flowers, locks, guns - but he also writes a line so beautiful, creates an image or scene so haunting, it makes you think forever differently about the big things - love, fear, cruelty, kindness, the countless facets of the human heart … Doerr's new novel is that novel, the one you savor, and ponder, and happily lose sleep over, then go around urging all your friends to read - now.” (J.R. Moehringer, author of Sutton and The Tender Bar)
“A tender exploration of this world's paradoxes; the beauty of the laws of nature and the terrible ends to which war subverts them; the frailty and the resilience of the human heart; the immutability of a moment and the healing power of time … A compelling and uplifting novel.” (M.L. Stedman, author of The Light Between Oceans)
“[All the Light We Cannot See] presents two characters so interesting and sympathetic that readers will keep turning the pages hoping for an impossibly happy ending… Highly recommended for fans of Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient.” (Evelyn Beck, Library Journal)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Adele on 12-23-14

Mispronunciation sure, but buy it anyway!

All the Light We Cannot See is a well balanced gem of a book - beautifully written descriptions and dialogue. Most of all I loved the diverse and complex relationships. The humanity of all the characters was deftly captured, and the many and varied forms of love.
A few words were noticeably mispronounced and it was a little disruptive when that happened. I got the impression that the reader was aware of some of them opted to persist rather than introduce inconsistency. Ideally those mistakes should have been spotted and corrected before publishing. However, aside from these relatively infrequent glitches I loved the narration - it was unobtrusive, understated and sensitive. I was totally engaged and had no difficulty distinguishing one character from another and certainly experienced a wide range of emotions along with the characters.
I would encourage anyone who loves really good literature to listen to this beautiful story.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful


By Lydia on 05-23-15

An exceptional novel.

If you could sum up All the Light We Cannot See in three words, what would they be?

Haunting.<br/>Exquisite.<br/>Multifaceted.

What did you like best about this story?

That it was told from perspective of 2 individuals, on opposing sides of the war.<br/>The fleeting touch of romance toward the end.

What does Julie Teal bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narration transfixed me. I thought it was excellent.

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

Diamond sparkles in the dark.

Any additional comments?

One of the best novels I've listened to.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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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18 of 18 people found this review helpful


By bignewshound on 04-10-16

THE WORST NARRATION I HAVE HEARD BY A PROFESSIONAL

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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13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Sophie on 05-20-15

Stunning

This was such an exquisitely written book. I love historical fiction but sometimes they can be clumsily written. This is not one of those books. It seems like Doerr was not only writing a beautiful and haunting story, he was also writing a love letter to language. Listening to the AudioBook was like returning to childhood where Nanna would read me an enchanting story, and I had no problem weaving through the timelines after a couple of chapters. Highly recommend to those that enjoy historical fiction about the war, and to those that like intelligent fiction written in such beautiful prose. Thanks Audible!

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful


By Bob on 05-14-15

Exceptional Book

I love this book. Gentle people in a a violent time. The story captivating. the reader was fabulous and did the book proud.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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