Review: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr


I kept on repeating, maybe I just missed a page.. this can’t end like this.

This book puts us in the minority (well what people think minority is) to show us all the light we cannot see, all the truth we deliberately avoid and reject to see.

I guess I never would’ve thought that this book would turn out the way it had. I like how this had a fantasy or magical element to it that I never encountered before, especially in historical fiction. Since I read a lot of historical fiction, that bit made it extra interesting and different.

The characters were real, not just a fragment of the author’s imagination. They had their own stories, own perception, and own difficulties to tell. They were so unlike to each other that you could tell who’s talking with your eyes closed. And that is talent, ladies and gentlemen. Shout out to Jutta, she’s my favorite character.

There are two parallel stories in here and both follow the same timeline but in different locations: Marie-Laure’s is in Paris France/Saint-Malo and Werner is in Germany.

A freckled, timid redhead named Marie-Laure lives with his father, a smart and loving locksmith who works at a museum. Unfortunately at the age of six, she is diagnosed with a degenerative disease and goes blind. Her father then creates a miniature model of their neighborhood to cater her daughter’s need. As the war progresses, they were forced to evacuate Paris and flee to the safety of Saint-Malo’s walls with his great-uncle.

In Germany, Werner, a curious and intellectual orphan boy, lives in a small home with his little sister and along with other orphans. His hobby (or talent) of fixing radios earned him points to Hitler Youth Academy.

This is why I love historical fiction, it tells you what the textbooks skips. It’s not in the context of the leaders, who just sit there and declare the where the next bomb would hit. It’s about the normal people, people who actually were actually there, who actually felt the bomb hitting. It’s about the real stories untold.

Although I have to say, one minor issue I have is the ending. It’s kind of a break it or make it deal for me. And I just didn’t like the way it ended. It’s just matter of personal preferences but still I think it could’ve done better. Since the ending made me crazy really, talk about cliffhangers especially to a stand-alone novel—that’s just mean.

Nonetheless, I thank Doer for making my read worthwhile.


Do I like it: Definitely

Recommended to: To people who see with their eyes close

(Fully Booked, Large Copy, P 640)

Below are information about this book.

Publication: May 6th 2014 by Scribner

From Goodreads:

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 (there are thousands of locks in the museum). 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 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 outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.

Doerr’s gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work.


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