All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See

A Novel

Downloadable Audiobook - 2014 | Unabridged
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Winner of the 2015 Audie Award for Fiction Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, a New York Times Book Review Top Ten Book, National Book Award finalist, more than two and a half years on the New York Times bestseller list 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. 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. Doerr's "stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors" ( San Francisco Chronicle ) are dazzling. 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 ).
Publisher: New York :, Simon and Schuster Audio,, 2014
Edition: Unabridged
ISBN: 9781442378735
Characteristics: 1 online resource (17 audio files) : digital
audio file,rda
Additional Contributors: Appelman, Zach

Related Resources


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Dec 02, 2020

****** stars!! From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, a stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel 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 within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks. When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure's agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall. In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes obsessed with broadcasts from an unknown source. The light in the title is, among other things, a topic that Werner hears discussed on a late-1930s radio broadcast about the brain's power to create light in darkness. Turning the dial, they hear a mysterious Frenchman talking about science. ?What do we call visible light?? the Frenchman asks. ?We call it color. But . . . really, children, mathematically, all of light is invisible.? Werner becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung lands of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure. ****** I loved this book!!!!! I have to preface my review with the fact that I have stayed in St. Malo and fell in love with the old walled city and the Brittany coast. In addition I am a WWII history ( both non-fiction and fiction ) buff, so we had perfect synchronicity. The main characters are beautifully developed and you care immediately about their fates. The novel is exquisitely written!!! The interwoven stories are well constructed and lead to a superlative resolution. .... and then of course there is the diamond, the "Sea of Flames". Is it a curse or simply a stone capable of reflecting facets of light. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!!! Kristi & Abby Tabby

Sep 20, 2019

Absolutely loved this book. The audiobook is very well done.

Jan 29, 2019

I'm a bit perplexed as to how to write about this book, for it is a moving and sensitive book. A story about how one persons life touches another persons life. Not how another influences another, but how one touches the emotional and spiritual inner being, the depth and soul of another. How that melding of spirits shapes and imparts not only the character of the one, but carrels with them a tiny bit of the other to add to their own. Set against the horrors of WWII, it takes the carnage, tragedy, and mostly the inhumanity of the atrocities and crimes, with several characters who through either birth and family or by the plans of war, are all brought together.

There are three main characters, the young French blind girl, the young German boy gifted with an understanding of radio beyond normal comprehension, and finally, the jewel. The list of supporting characters are just the right touch and their influences of the lives of the main characters is fundamental to them. All surrounded by the travesties war.

Sad, touching, very introspective, you are touched by the events, the sadness, the pain. Not a lot of joy, but it is the love of humankind that leaves the most influence and thinking the most. Is it really the characters of the story or is it how the souls of one contribute and touch the soul of another to make the person whole. This is where I wrestled with the story. A very emotional book and not my regular cup of tea. But it is well worth the read and I assure you, it is the type of story, from which each reader will come away with something different.

ChrisPACL Jan 25, 2019

This is a comment for the audiobook version—so good! Listen with your eyes closed, whole new dimension.

Sep 19, 2018

Where's the tension, the story, the anticipation? This is bland, oh so bland.
The war happens around the characters, at a bubble's length. Despite being in the middle of it all, they don't get touched by the war.
This is 3 stories combined (loosely) into one. The combination failed, in my eyes.
So many pages to say so little. The end was written into the beginning. It was easy to see how this would end. I hoped I was mistaken; I wasn't.
Biggest constant peeve throughout: home-made canned foods in actual tins! Who tins their home canning?! Is that even possible?!
Biggest constant peeve throughout: home-made canned foods in actual tins! Is that even possible to tin at home?!

JCLJoyceM Oct 10, 2017

Anthony Doerr is beautifully descriptive, offering comprehensive metaphors and rich details, as if he is compensating for the blind girl’s lack of sight. The novel moves back and forth, giving a glimpse of the characters’ future and then unveiling how they came to this scene.

Sep 07, 2017

In a time of great turmoil comes a story of undying hope. There is a precious stone, one of a kind, that everybody would love to get their hands on, including the Nazis. This stone is said to give the holder unconquerable power. There are those who have sworn to protect it from those who would seek to use it for personal gain. Knowing that the Nazis would soon be after it, 3 copies of the stone were made & distributed in order to further protect the real one. 3 separate stories are going on at the same time: the protector of the stone, the seeker of the stone, & the young orphan boy that joins the 3rd Reich simply as a stepping stone to give him the means to go to college & make a life for himself. 3 separate people --- 3 separate lives. The stone protector is an innocent bystander that is in the wrong place at the wrong time. The stone seeker has evil intentions & get what he wants at any cost. The young orphan boy that joined the 3rd Reich finds that all of the evil things he's heard about what they are doing are actually true, but he firmly does NOT agree with these heinous acts, & he seeks to redeem himself & his choice to join this group. Lives are lost, both in death & in terrible torture. But even in the midst of such evil, love & goodness still survive.

My favorite part of this story was the brief intersection of Marie-Laure's (stone protector) & Werner's (orphan boy) stories. Werner is working to redeem his terrible choice to join the 3rd Reich, & he is presented with an opportunity to save a life. While raiding the small town of Saint-Malo where Marie-Laure lives & has been sending radio broadcasts on behalf of the Resistance, Werner discovers her illegal activity but decides to let it continue as if he'd never found her. He then falls in loves with & saves Marie-Laure, keeping her & the precious stone from the clutches of the stone seeker. Just after this noble act, Werner becomes sick, begins to recover, then steps on a landmine & dies. A budding love story cut off before it could ever get off the ground. Years later, Werner's sister comes in to possession of some of Werner's things, & she sets off to find out more about 2 of them. She pays a visit to Marie-Laure, & she discovers her brothers final acts of love & bravery. She then continues her journey to visit Werner's best friend from training camp only to find that he tortured to the point of insanity. She returns the object to him in hopes that it would bring up good memories for him about his time w/Werner. This is not what I would call a "feel good" story, but it's a lovely story of sparks of hope that cannot be squelched by the darkness all around it.

Age recommendation: 16 & up (profanity, heinous acts of torture)

On a scale of 1-10 stars, I give it 7.

Sep 15, 2016

Loved the audiobook of this!!!

Jun 18, 2016

Great book... Very sad and emotional, but very rewarding in the end!

Mar 08, 2016

Great story well told......incredible descriptions all through the story. Ingenious description of WW2 through the eyes of two children.

View All Comments


Add Notices
Sep 07, 2017

Sexual Content: no sexual situations, but there are crass conversations about reproductive anatomy

Sep 07, 2017

Violence: acts of torture performed by the Nazis

Sep 07, 2017

Coarse Language: profanity

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability
Sep 07, 2017

jandt_mcmurray thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at NWPL

To Top