all the light we cannot see
Book Reviews

All the Light We Cannot See-Book review

All the Light we cannot see-Book review

Book: All the light we cannot see

Author: Anthony Doerr

Genre: Historical Fiction

My rating: 5/5

Plot summary:

In 1934, Marie-Laure LeBlanc is a six year old blind girl living in Paris with her father, the master locksmith at the Museum of Natural History. Her father constructs a scale model of their neighborhood to help her visualize her surroundings.

In Germany, 8-year-old Werner Pfennig is an orphan in the coal-mining town of Zollverein. Werner is exceptionally bright and has a natural skill for repairing radios. After he finds a broken one with his younger sister Jutta, he fixes it and he uses it to hear science and music programs transmitted across Europe.

When Germany invades France in 1940, Marie-Laure and her father flee to the coastal town of Saint-Malo to take refuge with her great-uncle Etienne, a recluse and shellshocked veteran of the Great War who spent his time broadcasting old records of his dead brother across Europe. Werner's skill earns him a place at the National Political Institute of Education at Schulpforta, a boarding school teaching Nazi values. Werner is obedient and highly efficient in technical work. His age is wrongly increased in the papers to put him out of school and is soon placed in the Wehrmacht, tracking illegal enemy signals alongside Volkheimer, a large yet gentle soldier from Schulpforta.

As the Allied forces lay siege to Saint-Malo, Werner is trapped beneath a pile of rubble, where he stays alive without food or water for days just by listening to Marie-Laure's radio broadcasts in which she reads from her Jules Verne novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea which was in Braille.

The story ends in 2014 with Marie-Laure, now 86 years old, walking with her grandson, Michel in the streets of Paris where she grew up.


I had once started this book, but did not finish, now took it up to study along with a reading partner, and i am glad i did!

I love the fact that the chapters are very small, so i can stop and pickup where i left off easily.

Though i felt it was a little slow moving in the beginning, it picked up pace when Paris is invaded, and fell back to slow pace again.

It picked up again when Werner sees Marie.

And then i did not want the book to end.
I like how the book takes us through right through the war, into a future where is there is hope for survivors.

The feeling that so many people have walked around the same paths,sacrificed their lives so that we get to be here, its exciting!

I want to build a small model of the city too! All the model talk, now i want a lovely model too!

The model is explained so beautifully that i can almost imagine touching small gutters and cobbled paths of the scaled model.

Though the jumping timelines made it confusing and slowed me down as i had to jump back time and again to gain perspective.

Liked quotes :

“All your life you wait, and then it finally comes, and are you ready?”
“Sometimes the eye of a hurricane is the safest place to be.”
“So how, children, does the brain, which lives without a spark of light, build for us a world full of light?”

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The plot summery is taken from wiki, and the cover picture from goodreads

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