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All the light we cannot see : a novel
2014
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Characters
Marie-Laure (Female), Blind, French, Lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History; became blind at the age of six; her father built her a miniature model of the neighborhood so she could memorize it to navigate her way; flees Paris with her father when she was 12 when the Nazis came; went to live with her great-uncle after her father disappears; has the museum's most valuable jewel
Werner (Male), Orphan, German, Lives in a mining town in Germany with his younger sister; talented at building and fixing gadgets; attends an academy for Hitler youth; given a special assignment to track the resistance
Genre
Fiction
Historical
War
Topics
Blindness
World War II
Nazis
German occupation of France
Jewels
Hitler Youth
Resistance movements
Setting
France - Europe
Germany - Europe
Time Period
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Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

Starred Review. Zach Appelman narrates Doerr's tender World War II tale of two young people: Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, and Werner, who was orphaned by a tragic mine accident. Marie-Laure's father is the locksmith for a natural history museum, and when Paris falls, he and his daughter escape to the home of her great uncle Etienne in Saint Malo, carrying what may be a priceless diamond. Her father is imprisoned and soon Etienne and Marie-Laure become resistance fighters, sending clandestine radio transmissions. In Germany, Werner escapes the mines because of his mathematical ability and interest in radios and is sent to a training camp for Hitler youth. Werner is conflicted he is receiving the education he wanted so desperately, but when confronted daily with injustice and brutality, he finally asks to leave. Instead, he is sent to the front. Using technology he helped develop, Werner is charged with finding and eliminating partisans such as Etienne and Marie-Laure. The listener knows that slowly, inextricably, Werner's and Marie-Laure's lives will intersect. But Doerr does not leave listeners in despair. Like light through the clouds, love, hope, and kindness peek through time and again. VERDICT Listeners must attend closely to this story of innocents caught up in the darkness of World War II. But if they do, they are rewarded with an excellent narration of a beautifully written story. ["The novel presents two characters so interesting and sympathetic that readers will keep turning the pages hoping for an impossibly happy ending," read the starred review of the Scribner hc, LJ 2/1/14.] Judy Murray, Monroe Cty. Lib. Syst., Temperance, MI (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Broadway actor Appelman delivers a moving performance in the audio edition of Doerr's beautiful WWII novel. The story shifts back and forth in time, and alternates between the perspectives of two protagonists, Marie-Laure-a blind French girl whose locksmith father builds models of the city to help her adapt to her surroundings-and Werner Pfennig, a German orphan who is separated from his sister, Jutta, when he's called to work for the Nazis as an engineer. The stories are both involving in their own right, as we track how the peaceful lives of a father/daughter and brother/sister are slowly disrupted by the rise of the Nazis. Reader Appelman helps convey the emotional tension of each scene with dialogue that is devastatingly moving, and his portrayal of Marie-Laure's uncle, Etienne, is particularly effective. All and all, Appelman turns in a dramatic and well-paced performance of Doerr's richly conveyed and heartbreaking period piece. A Scribner hardcover. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE <br> From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious 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.<br> <br> Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. 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.<br> <br> In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure's converge.<br> <br> Doerr's "stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors" ( San Francisco Chronicle ) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. 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 ).
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