All the Light we Cannot See

All the Light

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr dropped into my reading lap rather fortuitously for our Paris in July event this year.

The book is set in Germany and France just prior to, and during World War 2. In Germany there is the character of Werner, a young boy orphaned with his sister in a mining community whose mathematical and technical skills bring him to the attention of senior government officials who arrange for him to be taught at an elite educational facility – a training academy for the Nazi’s.

In Paris and later Saint-Malo there is Marie-Laure, an intelligent, curious bookworm blind from the age of six living with her father, a locksmith for the Museum of Natural History. Once Paris is invaded Marie-Laure and her father are forced to leave and take sanctuary with an uncle in the town of Saint-Malo.

Both of the main characters are portrayed sublimely  – there is depth and heart to each of their stories. Doerr moves the story back and forth from the childhoods of both characters to war time France and the lead up to the D Day landing of the Allied forces. This technique builds suspense beautifully and allows the two stories to develop and build in collaboration – bringing two seemingly opposite sides together.

This books was magic – sad, as most wartime stories inevitably are – but written so beautifully. There are many aspects to the story which I am sure I have not really taken in but the feeling of wanting to hear and know more at the end has certainly stayed with me since I finished the book.

What was the last book you read that had a real impact on you and stayed with you long after you had finished reading?



11 Comments on All the Light we Cannot See

  1. Clare
    July 25, 2014 at 2:23 am (4 years ago)

    I have this book on my list of reads, thanks for the review!
    I am currently reading Elizabeth is Missing which is a wonderful read so far.

    • KAB18
      July 27, 2014 at 9:32 pm (4 years ago)

      I have just started Elizabeth is Missing Clare and am loving it too! Sounds like we have very similar reading tastes!

  2. Tamara
    July 25, 2014 at 1:17 pm (4 years ago)

    Was this an ebook, or could I borrow it sometime? I’ve often been rewarded for reading books your recomend like this one. Paris in July is a wonderful event for celebrating the beautiful things from France, but sad things have happened there in the past (and now too) and well written reflections of those times are important to value. Thank you for this review.

    • KAB18
      July 27, 2014 at 9:33 pm (4 years ago)

      It was an e-book T, am reading most things on my Kindle these days…

  3. Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
    July 26, 2014 at 10:49 am (4 years ago)

    Wonderful review. Wartime stories fascinate me and are some of my favorite books. And I’m not sure I could tell you of a book that has stayed with me recently. I’ve read several that I enjoyed, but nothing that has truly touched me.

  4. KAB18
    July 27, 2014 at 9:33 pm (4 years ago)

    I would definitely recommend this one then Holly – I really think you would like it.

  5. Deb Nance at Readerbuzz
    July 27, 2014 at 10:21 pm (4 years ago)

    I’m reading this right now. I don’t want to read it fast; I don’t want it to end.

  6. Alexa
    July 27, 2014 at 11:07 pm (4 years ago)

    This sounds like a good book. I recently read The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery, and it has stayed with me. I thought I might try to tackle it in French (L’élégance du Hérisson), but can’t get the French version on my Kindle. (Maybe just as well; it wasn’t the easiest read even in English—but definitely worth the effort.)

  7. Sharon @ Faith Hope & Cherrytea
    July 28, 2014 at 12:07 pm (4 years ago)

    the best part of kindle ebooks is they can be borrowed via the amazon kindle lending library! no cost to either party – and two weeks to read for the loan. A wonderful option and useful once readers have tried it out =)

    thanks for sharing the feedback.. I had tried to get a copy earlier and missedout, so will be pursuing it again!

  8. jeanie
    August 1, 2014 at 12:56 pm (4 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing this one. I’m very fond of books related to WWII and of course, Paris — and Saint Malo is a bonus, having visited there two years ago I think I’d like this one very much.


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