Author(s): Anthony Doerr
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times 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 with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History where he works. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind. 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. They carry with them perhaps the museum's most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a German mining town, an orphan named Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. He becomes expert at fixing these new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the Resistance. Increasingly aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure's converge.
Doerr's "stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors" (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer "whose sentences never fail to thrill" (Los Angeles Times).
~ Once I started reading this there was just no putting it down! One of the most hauntingly beautiful stories I have read, rich with images, descriptions and history. The story mostly follows the lives of two young people as Europe is swallowed up in WW2. Marie-Laure is blind and lives with her father who works as master of a thousand locks at the Museum of Natural History and Werner, an orphan living in a grim coal mining town in Germany with his younger sister. Their alternating stories are told in short chapters moving back and forth in time as they try to survive during this dark hole of history. This is not so much a story about the war but about the lives of innocent people engulfed in a conflict they had nothing to do with, and the way they touched each others lives during this horrifying time. But within this horror the author, with such precise and intricate description, manages to convey beauty in everyday experiences and the goodness of the main characters is heartbreaking but strangely uplifting. So much in this story!
'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'
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.