Book Review: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr


Months have passed since I’ve read a book that I couldn’t wait to share. I’ve read some good books, some I’m-not-sure-how-I-feel-about-it books, and some real duds. The book I can’t wait to share — I haven’t even finished yet. This book is that good!

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Marie-Laure, a young blind girl, lives with her father in Paris. When Marie-Laure went blind at age 6, her father built an exact, dollhouse sized replica of their neighborhood so that she could learn to navigate her surroundings. Marie-Laure’s father serves as the locksmith for the Museum of Natural History. When the Nazis invade Paris, Marie-Laure and her father escape to live with his uncle in Saint-Malo. Marie-Laure’s father is entrusted by the director of the museum with the keeping of a very important gem which might be one of three fakes or the original since the Nazis are collecting items of value.

Werner along with his sister, Jutta are orphans who are raised in a group home in Zollverein, Germany. Werner is exceptionally bright and becomes fascinated by a radio that he finds. He teaches himself how to build and fix radios which grabs the attention of a Nazi Officer who has Werner sent to a Hitler Youth Center. Werner is brutally trained for service as well as receiving additional training with radios. He is selected for a special assignment along with his team to track the transmissions of the Resistance and eliminate the enemy.

 “Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.”  Anthony Doerr

The story is told in flashbacks and flashforwards with the stories of Werner and Marie-Laure intermingled. Their stories begin to merge as the book progresses toward its conclusion. All The Light We Cannot See is beautifully crafted with layers of reflection. A few of which are what it means to hear, to see, to be courageous, and the symbolism of light and waves. A finalist for the National Book Award for 2014, this book would make a wonderful book club choice.

Click here to hear the author read a portion of the book.



“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”  Isaiah 9:2 NIV Bible

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