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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) ;)

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  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

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  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Acclaim

    Critically acclaimed


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.

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Member thoughts

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All (4892)
Love (3372)
Like (1264)
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4959 ratings
  • 68% Love
  • 25% Like
  • 5% Dislike
  • Westminster, CO

    This is one of my favorite reads ever! Such a strong character building book bringing opposite sides of a war together through two compassionate characters. Will make you believe in humanity. 5⭐️‘s

  • San Diego, CA

    This was the first book I've read by this author and couldn't have been happier with the first read. I have this book to 3 of my friends within the week I read it and they love it as much as I did! Top5

  • East Point, GA

    It has been ages since I stayed up all night to read a book in one sitting, especially one of this length. I kept reading just one more 3-5 page 'chapter'... The people & storyline are so captivating!

  • Burbank, CA

    No details on battles or the war itself but war from the perspective of two young people. Innocent but yet aware of what's happening around them and how much their lives are impacted by their choices.

  • Lubbock, TX

    Must read book with a fresh perspective of life during WWII & its effects on families separated from one another.While emotional at times, the main themes of hope, endurance & faith prevail overall.

  • Farmington Hills, MI

    WOW! This was one of my favorites so far this year & I can't believe I put this off for as long as I did! I was completely immersed from the beginning. Marie-Laure & Werner have such amazing stories.

  • Oxford, MS

    All the Light We Cannot See is clearly a Historical Fiction novel using unforgettable, lovable, intensely intellectual, amazing characters in which the reader will find multiple Illuminating ideas!

  • Salem, OR

    I read this book back when it was first published, and loved it just as much as I do now! It's a beautiful narrative detailing the lives of different people in a harrowing time in Europe. Recommend!

  • Rockwood , PA

    Beautiful. Moving. Two very different stories, told side-by-side. I loved that one of the MCs was blind; it added a whole other dimension. 4/5 stars. :) (I'm super picky-- four means REALLY good!)

  • San Francisco, CA

    I enjoyed this story of how WWII affected 2 young individuals from 2 very different backgrounds. Although the moment when they met was short lived, I loved how the radio tied their lives together.

  • Pittsburgh, PA

    This book is a masterpiece. Because of the constantly changing pov's, it gets kind of overwhelming to read at first, but once you get used to the style and the pace, it really is a wonderful read!

  • Tampa, FL

    This is one of those books I wish I could read again. While tragic on so many levels, the character development and inner thoughts and fears made this story as did the reveal how they intertwined.

  • Lagrange , OH

    I loved this book. It build slowly, but extremely well written. I am a Historical fiction junky and this was difficult to read with everything going on in our country at the moment, but worth it.

  • Hillsboro, NH

    Such an amazingly written book! I learned so much from the varying view points that I had not learned in previous WWII stories. I felt like I was there and had so much empathy for the characters.

  • Beverly, MA

    This book takes some patience to get into as you begin to understand how the various stories connect. Once you see the connection, it all falls into place and you fall in love with the writing.

  • Sayville, NY

    Beautiful story. You wont be able to put it down. I found the characters so endearing. It’s a crafty take on a WW II setting that leaves you fully satisfied. I would recommend this to anyone.

  • Lexington Park, MD

    Beautiful story set in a heartbreaking time in history. I did find this dragging on at times, but overall i loved it. I was so invested in the characters and the ending was very sweet. ❤️

  • Southold, NY

    This book was stunning. Picked it up solely for the WW2 angle, and was over the moon after realizing the amount of natural history and science woven throughout. Will definitely read again!

  • Newburgh, NY

    This story was so compelling, at times I had to take a break as the plot thickened. Helps to understand that time in history, what went into saving valuable art, artifacts from the Nazis.

  • Natick, MA

    This would have to be one of my favorite books of all time. I actually had read this book previously but loaned it to a friend. I couldn't bear to part with it so I purchased it again!

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