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All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel Hardcover – 6 May 2014

4.4 out of 5 stars 62,800 ratings

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Product description


"All the Light We Cannot See is a dazzling, epic work of fiction. Anthony Doerr writes beautifully about the mythic and the intimate, about snails on beaches and armies on the move, about fate and love and history and those breathless, unbearable moments when they all come crashing together."--Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins

"A novel to live in, learn from, and feel bereft over when the last page is turned, Doerr's magnificently drawn story seems at once spacious and tightly composed. . . . Doerr masterfully and knowledgeably recreates the deprived civilian conditions of war-torn France and the strictly controlled lives of the military occupiers."-- "Booklist (starred review)"

"A tender exploration of this world's paradoxes; the beauty of the laws of nature and the terrible ends to which war subverts them; the frailty and the resilience of the human heart; the immutability of a moment and the healing power of time. The language is as expertly crafted as the master locksmith's models in the story, and the settings as intricately evoked. A compelling and uplifting novel."--M.L. Stedman, author of The Light Between Oceans

"Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters."-- "Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"

"Doerr sees the world as a scientist, but feels it as a poet. He knows about
everything--radios, diamonds, mollusks, birds, flowers, locks, guns--but he also writes a line so beautiful, creates an image or scene so haunting, it makes you think forever differently about the big things--love, fear, cruelty, kindness, the countless facets of the human heart. Wildly suspenseful, structurally daring, rich in detail and soul, Doerr's new novel is that novel, the one you savor, and ponder, and happily lose sleep over, then go around urging all your friends to read--now."--J.R. Moehringer, author of Sutton and The Tender Bar

"Endlessly bold and equally delicate...An intricate miracle of invention, narrative verve, and deep research lightly held, but above all a miracle of humanity....Anthony Doerr's novel celebrates--and also accomplishes--what only the finest art can: the power to create, reveal, and augment experience in all its horror and wonder, heartbreak and rapture."-- "Shelf Awareness"

"If a book's success can be measured by its ability to move readers and the number of memorable characters it has, Story Prize-winner Doerr's novel triumphs on both counts. He convinces readers...that war--despite its desperation, cruelty, and harrowing moral choices--cannot negate the pleasures of the world."-- "Publishers Weekly (starred review)"

"Intricate... A meditation on fate, free will, and the way that, in wartime, small choices can have vast consequences."-- "New Yorker"

"Sometimes a novel doesn't merely transport. It immerses, engulfs, keeps you caught within its words until the very end, when you blink and remember there's a world beyond the pages.
All the Light We Cannot See is such a book... Vibrant, poignant, delicately exquisite. Despite the careful building of time and place (so vivid you fall between the pages), it's not a story of history; it's a story of people living history."-- "Historical Novel Society"

"Stunning and ultimately uplifting... Doerr's not-to-be-missed tale is a testament to the buoyancy of our dreams, carrying us into the light through the darkest nights."-- "Entertainment Weekly"

"The whole enthralls."-- "Good Housekeeping"

"This jewel of a story is put together like a vintage timepiece, its many threads coming together so perfectly. Doerr's writing and imagery are stunning. It's been a while since a novel had me under its spell in this fashion. The story still lives on in my head."--Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone

What a delight! This novel has exquisite writing and a wonderfully suspenseful story. A book you'll tell your friends about...--Frances Itani, author of Deafening

"A beautiful, expansive tale...Ambitious and majestic."--Steph Cha "Los Angeles Times"

"A revelation."--Michael Magras ""

"Anthony Doerr again takes language beyond mortal limits."--Elissa Schappell "Vanity Fair"

"Anthony Doerr writes beautifully... A tour de force."--Elizabeth Reed "Deseret Morning News"

"Beautifully written... Soulful and addictive."--Chris Stuckenschneider "The Missourian"

"Doerr conjures up a vibrating, crackling world...Intricately, beautifully crafted."--Rebecca Kelley ""

"Doerr deftly guides
All the Light We Cannot See toward the day Werner's and Marie-Laure lives intersect during the bombing of Saint-Malo in what may be his best work to date."--Yvonne Zipp "Christian Science Monitor"

"Doerr has packed each of his scenes with such refractory material that
All the Light We Cannot See reflects a dazzling array of themes....Startlingly fresh."--John Freeman "The Boston Globe"

"Doerr is an exquisite stylist; his talents are on full display."--Alan Cheuse "NPR"

"Enthrallingly told, beautifully written...Every piece of back story reveals information that charges the emerging narrative with significance, until at last the puzzle-box of the plot slides open to reveal the treasure hidden inside."--Amanda Vaill "Washington Post"

"Exquisite...Mesmerizing...Nothing short of brilliant."--Alice Evans "Portland Oregonian"

"Gorgeous... moves with the pace of a thriller... Doerr imagines the unseen grace, the unseen light that, occasionally, surprisingly, breaks to the surface even in the worst of times."--Dan Cryer "San Francisco Chronicle"

"Hauntingly beautiful."--Janet Maslin "The New York Times"

"History intertwines with irresistible fiction--secret radio broadcasts, a cursed diamond, a soldier's deepest doubts--into a richly compelling, bittersweet package."--Mary Pols "People (3 1/2 stars)"

"Incandescent... a luminous work of strife and transcendence... with characters as noble as they are enthralling"--Hamilton Cain "O, the Oprah magazine"

"Intricately structured...
All the Light We Cannot See is a work of art and of preservation."--Jane Ciabattari "BBC"

"Magnificent."--Carmen Callil "The Guardian (UK)"

"Perfectly captured...Doerr writes sentences that are clear-eyed, taut, sweetly lyrical."--Josh Cook "Minneapolis Star Tribune"

"Stupendous...A beautiful, daring, heartbreaking, oddly joyous novel."--David Laskin "The Seattle Times"

"The craftsmanship of Doerr's book is rooted in his ability to inhabit the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner...[A] fine novel."--Steve Novak "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette"

"There is so much in this book. It is difficult to convey the complexity, the detail, the beauty and the brutality of this simple story."--Carole O'Brien "Aspen Daily News"

"This novel has the physical and emotional heft of a masterpiece...[All the Light We Cannot See] presents two characters so interesting and sympathetic that readers will keep turning the pages hoping for an impossibly happy ending...Highly recommended for fans of Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient."--Evelyn Beck "Library Journal (starred review)"

"This tough-to-put-down book proves its worth page after lyrical page...Each and every person in this finely spun assemblage is distinct and true."--Sharon Peters "USA Today"

"To open a book by Anthony Doerr is to open a door on humanity...His sentences shimmer...His paragraphs are luminous with bright, sparkling beauty."--Martha Anne Toll "Washington Independent Review of Books"

All the Light We Cannot See] brims with scrupulous reverence for all forms of life. The invisible light of the title shines long after the last page."--Tricia Springstubb "Cleveland Plain Dealer"

About the Author

Anthony Doerr is the author of Cloud Cuckoo Land, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and All the Light We Cannot See, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Carnegie Medal, the Alex Award, and a #1 New York Times bestseller. He is also the author of the story collections Memory Wall and The Shell Collector, the novel About Grace, and the memoir Four Seasons in Rome. He has won five O. Henry Prizes, the Rome Prize, the New York Public Library's Young Lions Award, the National Magazine Award for fiction, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Story Prize. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Doerr lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two sons.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Scribner Book Company (6 May 2014)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 544 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1476746583
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1501132872
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 15.24 x 3.81 x 22.86 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 62,800 ratings

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Anthony Doerr has won numerous prizes for his fiction, including the Pulitzer Prize and the Carnegie Medal. His novel, 'All the Light We Cannot See,' was a #1 New York Times Bestseller and his new novel, 'Cloud Cuckoo Land,' published in September of 2021, was a finalist for the National Book Award. Learn more at

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62,800 global ratings

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Lady Vibart
5.0 out of 5 stars A page turning, brilliantly sensitive story of courage, love and the cruelty of war, studded with characters we all recognise!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 July 2018
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1.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely terrible!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute must-read
Reviewed in India on 16 May 2018
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3.0 out of 5 stars There's no doubt this is a fantastic book. Beautifully written
Reviewed in the United States on 12 May 2018
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3.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking Account Of The Occupation of France in WW2
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 June 2018
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