An epic novel, set during WW2, from the prize-winner 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.
Read Caroline Baum's Review
A big book in every sense: told in parallel narratives following the fates of two young people caught up in the turmoil of World War Two on opposite sides. Most affecting is the story of Marie Laure, a blind girl who flees Paris with her father to the walled city of Saint Malo ahead of the German invasion.
Meanwhile, Werner, a young orphan with a talent for fixing things, is picked out by the Nazis to be trained at an elite school for the war effort. The poignant and sweeping arcs of these characters connect as they move into the most turbulent period of twentieth century history. Although their fate is heavy with foreboding, Doerr raises familiar moral questions with fresh dramatic intensity.
If you think you don't need to read another novel about World War Two, this book may change your mind. It's a welcome addition to an already ample genre, bound to appeal especially to lovers of classics such as The Book Thief.
About the Author
Anthony Doerr is the author of four books, The Shell Collector, About Grace, Four Seasons in Rome and Memory Wall. Doerr's short fiction has won three O. Henry Prizes and has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, and The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. He has won the Rome Prize, and shared the New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award with Jonathan Safran Foer. In 2007 Granta placed Doerr on its list of the "21 Best Young American novelists." Doerr lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two sons.
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'Far more than a conventional war story, It's a tightly focused epic revolving around two unusual main characters ... Doerr paints with a rich palette, using prose that resonates deeply and conveys the ephemera of daily existence along with high drama, sadness and hope ... A bittersweet and moving novel that lingers in the mind' Clifford Beal, Daily Mail 'This novel will be a piece of luck for anyone with a long plane journey or beach holiday ahead. It is such a page-turner, entirely absorbing... [Doerr's] attention to detail is magnificent' Carmen Callil, Guardian 'Doerr's novel seems poised somewhere between the sublime and the twee. It very much lands on the right side of things, thanks to the author's eye for detail and the suspenseful rhythm of his chapters - often only a page or two - which expertly cut back and forth in time. He can bring a scene to life in a single paragraph ... Delicate and moving ... the novel takes hold and will not easily let go' Lidija Haas, The Times 'Boy meets girl in Anthony Doerr's hauntingly beautiful new book, but the circumstances are as elegantly circuitous as they can be' Janet Maslin, The New York Times 'I'm not sure I will read a better novel this year ... Enthrallingly told, beautifully written and so emotionally plangent that some passages bring tears' Amanda Vaill, Washington Post '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'
Number Of Pages: 544
Published: 1st May 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.4 x 4.0
Weight (kg): 0.72