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All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Anthony Doerr

Narrated By: Zach Appelman

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date: May 2014

Duration: 16 hours 5 minutes


All the Light We Cannot See is Anthony Doerr's most ambitious, elaborate, and dazzling novel yet. Set during World War II, the novel expertly interweaves the lives of a blind French girl, Marie-Laure, and an orphaned German boy, Werner, whose paths collide as they try to survive the physical and emotional destruction of the war. Built on an intricate, labyrinthine structure, the novel presents the gradually-intersecting stories of all those within it, the relationships that hold them together and the journeys each character undertakes.

At the novel’s opening, Marie Laure lives with her father in an apartment in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural history where he works as the master of the locks (there are 20,000 in the museum). When she is nine, 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 teach her feet to walk the real space. When the Germans occupy Paris, they flee to Saint Malo on the Brittany coast where Marie-Laure’s great uncle, severely agoraphobic, lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.

In another world, in Germany, the orphan 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 the elite and heinously brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of radio-active Hitler Youth to the far flung outskirts of Russia, and finally onto France, comforted by recollections from his childhood and letters to Jutta. In Saint Malo, Werner and Marie-Laure meet.

Doerr’s gorgeous and precise observations of the world are equaled by his soaring imagination. This stunning novel is about puzzles, seashells, the walled city of Saint-Malo, a fabled diamond, the power of radio, and the ways, against all odds, we try to be good to one another.


  • Rebecca V

    Beautiful writing that makes your heart ache for the characters.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful.

  • Virginia N

    The narrative is so beautiful that it makes me want to read the book

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Heather L

    This book was such an amazingly wound tale about the war from two very different view points. It gives a bit of insight into the Reich machine, as well as the brain washing that could occur amidst poor orphan children who had nothing to look forward to and nothing to lose.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Gina W

    Best book I have ever read or listened too. And the narrator was superb at the reading. Brought me to tears..... I couldn't stop listening . My heart ached for the characters???? I was very much moved by a war I have known little of before now. Such an atrocity to humanity !

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Gwen C

    Truly an escape in time captured by great story telling. The narrator created the characters persona, highlighting the writers intended distinction and texture. The chapters drift into the crevices of history, love, art. A joy in the journey for the audience.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Sabra G

    I enjoyed it. The story's time-jumping does make it hard to follow, but also an interesting perspective.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Luke T

    I've always loved WWII era stories, but this novel told the story in a new "light," if you will. Mr. Appelman personifies flawlessly the different characters. As a French speaker, I was very impressed with his prononciation, as well as the author's incorporation of the language. The two stories parallel each other in a way that is easy to follow, and doesn't seem forced at all once they merge. I highly recommend!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Karey C

    A good read. I was in tears for the children in the story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Sarah Pardue

    Beautifully written. When it came to an end I was so sad it was over and felt I knew each character and felt their pain.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Laura Wendon

    This book has two beautiful yet heart breaking stories intertwine and then collide completely. One of the best stories I've ever known.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.