Pinterest tracking pixel
If you are having difficulty navigating this website please contact us at accessibility@bookofthemonth.com or 1-833-959-2686.
Oops! The page didn’t load right. Please refresh and try again.
All booksHistorical fictionAll the Light We Cannot See
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Historical fiction

All the Light We Cannot See

by Anthony Doerr

Quick take

The only novel about World War II you need (besides The Flight Portfolio) ;)

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Inspirational

    Inspirational

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Sad

    Sad

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Acclaim

    Critically acclaimed

Why I love it

Jerrod MacFarlane
BOTM Editorial Team

In times of great hardship, it is easy to become cynical and despair. This makes it all the more remarkable when people in these circumstances nonetheless choose courageously to practice kindness and care in acts small and large. Anthony Doerr’s opus, All the Light We Cannot See, is a book filled to the brim with such acts. A moving hymn to defiant human spirit.

The novel flits between the perspective of two young people muddling through the violence and confusion of WWII and life under occupation. Marie-Laure, a young blind French girl, has just fled Paris with her father to hide away with her uncle who lives by the sea. There she becomes fascinated by mollusks and studies them zealously each day. Across the border, Werner a German orphan develops a knack for repairing radios and interpreting their frequencies. These skills eventually get him enlisted in resistance efforts. We watch throughout as these two young people who have bottomed out or nearly so families rather than retreat into their shells like Marie-Laure’s beloved mollusks, instead, again and again, confront darkness with light.

Anthony Doerr is a special writer and in All the Light We Cannot See he is at the height of his powers. Each sentence sings, imbued with great moral and emotional resonance. And he confronts the most potent questions of why we are put on this earth and how we fight our face our biggest obstacles together without betraying the angels of our better nature. What more can we ask for from a great book?

Read less

Synopsis

From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the stunningly beautiful instant bestseller 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.

Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, 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, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

Read less

Member thoughts

All (7305)
All (7305)
Love (4958)
Like (1950)
Dislike (397)
7433 ratings
  • 67% Love
  • 26% Like
  • 5% Dislike
    Historical fiction
    • The People We Keep
    • Malibu Rising
    • The Personal Librarian
    • Magic Lessons
    • The Book of Longings
    • The Final Revival of Opal & Nev
    • The Nightingale
    • Daisy Jones & The Six
    • The Lincoln Highway
    • Peach Blossom Spring
    • Booth
    • Sisters in Arms
    • The Perishing
    • Portrait of a Scotsman
    • The Family
    • Things We Lost to the Water
    • The Postmistress of Paris
    • Still Life
    • Send for Me
    • The Magnolia Palace
    • China Room
    • Summer of '69
    • This Tender Land
    • All the Light We Cannot See
    • The Vanishing Half
    • Outlawed
    • The Four Winds
    • The Giver of Stars
    • The Fountains of Silence
    • The Night Tiger
    • Libertie
    • Pachinko
    • The Great Believers
    • The Clockmaker's Daughter
    • The Summer Wives
    • A Gentleman in Moscow
    • The Great Alone
    • The Age of Light
    • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
    • The Paris Hours
    • The Heart's Invisible Furies
    • The Rules of Civility
    • The Wonder
    • Circling the Sun
    • The Moor's Account
    • The Air You Breathe
    • The Flight Portfolio
    • Jacqueline in Paris