Genre: Literary Fiction

Published: May 6, 2014

Pages: 531

Rate: 4 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

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.
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the stunningly beautiful 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.

My Take

One of the best books I read this year is All The Lights We Cannot See. The minute I finished this book I knew it’s one my man, Mûgambi, would love and I passed it along. Reader, he liked it just as much as I did if not more! I gave it 4.5 stars while he gave it 4. From our discussion of the book, I felt like he was the best person to tell you all about it and why you should give it a shot, or not. I don’t have much to say about it other than, read it!

Mûgambi’s Take

Before I even got halfway through All the Light we Cannot See, it had struck me that it is us with fully functional eyes who actually can’t see the important light that surrounds us. Often, we fail to see little geniuses, family love, selfish interests, and goodness in absolute strangers.

I love how Marie-Laure refused to accept blindness as a dead end and how her father made it his mission to ensure that never happened. Equally touching is little Werner’s surprise discovery of his ‘tech’ gift and how it kept drawing him in even when resources to learn were meagre and motivation dire.

At a time when all around us almost everybody has something to say about the government, the authorities’ interest in Werner’s talents yet absolute disregard for his welfare are like a mirror reflection.

I love how Doerr delves into little details and makes stories that tug at the heart’s strings out of events that could evade the ordinary eye. Marie-Laure’s little model house was of particular interest to me. Being blind meant she didn’t have much else to focus on. But this absence of distraction helps her focus on what is important and arguably keeps her alive through a raging war.

The merging of Marie-Laure’s and Werner’s lives is something I was very keen to see happen. Doerr brings it out like a virtuoso! This one of the many points within the book where I popped my ‘would recommend’ stickers.

I have been happening on war-themed books a lot lately. This is yet another one and it gives such a nice perspective – the harshness and brutal nature through the eyes of kids and barely adults. The harsh reality that many people who find themselves in different sides of war actually have nothing against each other. Werner’s kindness to Marie-Laure is a beautiful reminder of the kind core of humanity. A core that a lot around us is trying to suppress.

Doerr is lucky that I have no means of berating him for teleporting and time-travelling us throughout the book. Not his fault though that I love linear stories. I did not love that but I’m not apportioning blame.

Once again, thanks for letting me in on your beautiful, sacred book collection!

Oh, I almost forgot to drop these ⅘ stars for the book.


Have you read All The Light We Cannot See? What did you think about it?