All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

all-the-lightI should have listened. All my blogging friends were raving about Anthony Doerr‘s new novel, All The Light We Cannot See, and I wrote it off. I thought I wasn’t interested. Thank goodness the good people at Simon and Schuster Canada sent me a copy. I couldn’t have been more wrong. All The Light We Cannot See rates up there as one of the best novels I’ve read so far this year.

I am struggling with how to describe this novel. All the previous descriptions I’ve read did not really do it justice. There are two main characters whose lives do not intersect until the final pages of the novel. One is Werner, an orphan in Germany, with a passion for radio technology that propels him through the ranks of the German army. The other is Marie-Laure, a blind French girl exiled from Paris to the Brittany coast in occupied France.

Apparently it took Doerr over ten years to write All The Light We Cannot See. I can see why. Above all else, it is a beautifully crafted novel. The symbolism and imagery is wonderful and the characters are beautifully wrought. A love of science and Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea underpin the novel.

Who would like this book? Literary fiction lovers, I am calling on you to read this. There are so many layers to All The Light We Cannot See. I am shocked that it did not make the Man Booker Long List. Really, I am at a loss for words to describe it. All i can say is read it.


  1. I absolutely loved this book. I was like you at first – I thought I wasn’t interested – until I borrowed a copy from the library and read it in two days. I love that the book isn’t trying to prove any point about war (in terms of who was right/who was wrong); it simply showed what life was like for the characters. It’s such a beautiful book. Great review!

  2. This book must be circling in my atmosphere or something — I am seeing it everywhere and desperately want to pick it up. This review only made that desire so much stronger. I had no idea the two characters didn’t meet until the end of the novel! Now I’m staring at my copy….

  3. Pingback: The Best of 2015 | 52 books or bust

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