All The Light We Cannot See follows the complex narratives of two children living in Europe in the years leading up to WWII. Werner Pfennig is a sensitive, perceptive German orphan with a knack for building and repairing radios. Marie-Laure Leblanc is a young Parisian who is losing her vision at the same time she is falling in love with learning. The parallel stories of Werner and Marie-Laure are told in brief chapters within alternating storylines that jump back and forth in time. Their stories converge in Saint-Malo, as France is overtaken by the Allies. In some ways, this is a classic coming-of-age tale. While parts of the story feel familiar, Doerr carefully sidesteps sentimentality and melodrama by focusing on the intricate architecture of radio broadcasting. In the end, this poignant novel illuminates the connections that give life meaning in the context of countless moral ambiguities. Moving and well-written, All The Light We Cannot See leaves the reader with much to contemplate.
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 as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. 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, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more 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).