Join Goodreads

and meet your next favorite book!

Sign Up Now

All the Light We Cannot See

by

4.32 1,152,579 ratings 80,695 reviews
Your Rating (Clear)
  • Cancel
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 t... MoreMarie-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.

An alternate cover for this ISBN can be found here Less
Featured Notes & Highlights

Friends’ Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up .

Community Reviews

Average rating 4.32  ·  1,152,579 ratings  ·  80,695 reviews

rated it it was amazing
4 months ago

All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr


This book has haunting, beautiful prose. It's brimming with metaphors, painting gorgeous images. I didn't want it to end, but I couldn't put it down.



"In August 1944 the historic walled city of Saint-Malo, the brightest jewel of th
...more

rated it it was ok
about 3 years ago

This is a carefully constructed book which is bound to captivate a large audience and become very popular, and be blessed with many warm reviews - it was chosen by Goodreads members as the best historical fiction of 2014, and shortlisted for the National Book Award. There ar ...more

rated it it was ok
almost 6 years ago

Shelves: hf , germany , france , audible , 2014-read , magic , kids , returned
Why write a review if I am such an atypical reader?

I will keep this brief since I feel most readers will not react as I have, but isn’t it important that all views are voiced?

All readers must agree that the flipping back and forth between different time periods makes this bo
...more

rated it did not like it
28 days ago

description

No denying that this one is a big boi.

But was it worth all that paper?

Click the link for my video review of the big bois in my life.
The Written Review:Why are all prize winning books so depressing?

Do the Pulitzer Prize judges immediately disqualify fun books? Seriously,
...more

rated it really liked it
about 5 years ago

Shelves: historical , modern-lit , 2015
“So how, children, does the brain, which lives without a spark of light, build for us a world full of light?”

I'm going to be honest - love for this book didn't hit me straight away. In fact, my first attempt to read it last year ended with me putting it aside and going t
...more

rated it it was amazing
over 6 years ago

I always thought, or imagined, that there were these invisible lines trembling in our wake, outlining our trajectories through life, throbbing with electric energy. Lines that sometimes cross one other, or follow in parallel ellipses without ever touching, or meet up for one ...more

rated it it was amazing
almost 6 years ago

Adult fiction

This book is getting a lot of well-deserved attention for its unique story and its beautiful writing. It starts late in World War II, as the Allies begin shelling the French city of Saint-Malo to drive out the remaining Nazi troops. Our two main characters are
...more

rated it it was ok
about 7 years ago

I'm sure this is going to mark me as a literary dud, but for all the brilliant reviews of this book? I couldn't really get into it.

The book revolves around Marie-Laure, a blind girl who lives with her father. Her father is the locksmith at the Paris Museum of Natural History
...more

rated it did not like it
3 months ago

Honestly, wtf? I mean, we all know the blind person trope (Daredevil, etc) and the lovable Nazi trope (Hiroshima Mon Amour) and the mystical object searched for by evil Nazis trope (Indiana Jones), so why throw all of these together? The book was readable but no more so than ...more

rated it it was amazing
about 4 years ago

Shelves: favorite-books
This is a great book. Its very high ratings (4.3; half of the ratings are "5's") renews my faith that GR ratings count for something. With almost 50,000 reviews on GR I don’t feel there is a lot for me to add but here’s a brief summary of the plot and I’ll give a few example ...more

Other Books by this Author

  • The Shell Collector
    The Shell Collector
    by Anthony Doerr
  • About Grace
    About Grace
    by Anthony Doerr
  • Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World
    Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insom...
    by Anthony Doerr
  • Memory Wall
    Memory Wall
    by Anthony Doerr
  • The Best American Short Stories 2019
    The Best American Short Stories 2019
    by Anthony Doerr
  • The Hunter's Wife
    The Hunter's Wife
    by Anthony Doerr
  • Cloud Cuckoo Land
    Cloud Cuckoo Land
    by Anthony Doerr
  • The Snake Handler
    The Snake Handler
    by Anthony Doerr
  • The Deep
    The Deep
    by Anthony Doerr

Readers Also Enjoyed

Book details

Hardcover, First Scribner Hardcover Edition, 531 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Scribner
ISBN
1476746583 (ISBN13: 9781476746586)
Edition language
English
Original title
All the Light We Cannot See
Characters
Werner Pfennig, Marie-Laure LeBlanc, Frank Volkheimer, Etienne LeBlanc, Frederick (All the Light We Cannot See) More…Werner Pfennig, Marie-Laure LeBlanc, Frank Volkheimer, Etienne LeBlanc, Frederick (All the Light We Cannot See), Jutta Pfennig, Madame Manec, Reinhold von Rumpel, Frau Elena, Daniel LeBlanc Less
Literary Awards
Pulitzer Prize, Audie Award, ALA Alex Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Ohioana Book Award More…Pulitzer Prize, Audie Award, ALA Alex Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Ohioana Book Award, Australian Book Industry Award (ABIA), Andrew Carnegie Medal, Idaho Book of the Year Award, 本屋大賞, National Book Award Finalist, Goodreads Choice Award, International Dublin Literary Award Less

About this author

13,666 followers
Anthony Doerr is the author of five books, The Shell Collector , About Grace , Memory Wall , Four Seasons in Rome and All the Light We Cannot See . His new novel, Cloud Cuckoo Land , will be published in September, 2021. Doerr’s fiction has won five O. Henry Prizes and won a number of prizes including the Pulitzer Prize and the Carnegie Medal. Become a fan on Facebook and stay u ...more

Genres

Articles featuring this book

Goodreads Members Suggest: Favorite Comfort Reads

"Stay calm and read on" might be our collective slogan for the coming months. Since we all might need some help with that, we asked Goodreads...
205 likes · 334 comments

Quotes

Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.
Don’t you want to be alive before you die?
But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don't you do the same?

Discussions