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All the Light We Cannot See Audiobook

All the Light We Cannot See

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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

National Book Award Finalist

New York Times Bestseller

A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel 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, from the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr.

Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, 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 navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.

In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, 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 an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.

Doerr’s gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work.

©2014 Anthony Doerr (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd

What the Critics Say

“This jewel of a story is put together like a vintage timepiece … Doerr's writing and imagery are stunning. It's been a while since a novel had me under its spell in this fashion.” (Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone)
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)
“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 … 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)
“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 … A compelling and uplifting novel.” (M.L. Stedman, author of The Light Between Oceans)
“[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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (806 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Sophie 20/05/2015
    Sophie 20/05/2015
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    "Stunning"

    This was such an exquisitely written book. I love historical fiction but sometimes they can be clumsily written. This is not one of those books. It seems like Doerr was not only writing a beautiful and haunting story, he was also writing a love letter to language. Listening to the AudioBook was like returning to childhood where Nanna would read me an enchanting story, and I had no problem weaving through the timelines after a couple of chapters. Highly recommend to those that enjoy historical fiction about the war, and to those that like intelligent fiction written in such beautiful prose. Thanks Audible!

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob 14/05/2015
    Bob 14/05/2015
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    "Exceptional Book"

    I love this book. Gentle people in a a violent time. The story captivating. the reader was fabulous and did the book proud.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joel 03/02/2016
    Joel 03/02/2016
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    "A lasting impact"

    It's been 4 weeks since I finished this book and my mind still turns to it daily. The vivid imagery, the characters, the simply exquisite style of Doerr ...I was, and still am, immersed it all.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clare Cotton 21/09/2016
    Clare Cotton 21/09/2016 Member Since 2015
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    "
    As good as it gets.
    "

    I could not put it down. A WW2 story with a difference.
    The characters beautifully drawn. A story that totally engaged me. Written e
    with humanity and great sensitivity. A great deal to reflect on. The narrator's voice was perfect.
    This is as good as it gets.



    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stargirl456 11/08/2016
    Stargirl456 11/08/2016 Member Since 2015
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    "Beautiful story, tenderly told"

    What an epic war tale about a French blind girl and a young German soldier. Both there war have different angles on the war yet they share one thing, an interest in radio. It is beautifully written and the audible book version was so delicately spoken, it brought to life the story that was so detailed and rugged in parts yet so and vulnerable in other parts

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Isabelle 27/10/2015
    Isabelle 27/10/2015
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    "A slow-burn story"

    Long and sometimes tricky to keep up with (due to the jumps back-and-forth in the timeline) it is still a fantastic read!

    The story unfurls slowly, with a delicious use of language. The narrator is one of the best I've listened to.

    It's a slow-burn narrative, and once the stories start to converge, it becomes highly enjoyable.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 17/08/2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    "2 stories that intertwine"

    A gripping saga about two characters from very different places during the same period of time.
    Historical fiction with enough facts to keep things interesting.
    A great listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter 13/08/2017
    Peter 13/08/2017 Member Since 2016

    Not into reading but I love to listen !! Interested into world events and the future

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    "A Living Downer..."

    As a descriptive narrative of the human tragedy and the utter futility of war, this book succeeds - but at what a cost to the reader.!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica 05/08/2017
    Jessica 05/08/2017 Member Since 2015
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    "One of the best books I've ever read!"

    absolutely fantastic story. the narrator was great. easy to listen to. the author builds and builds the story from many viewpoints until the characters finally meet. but only for a day. so well written. the language and descriptions are so detailed you really feel like you can hear, see, touch, taste and smell everything!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane 01/08/2017
    Jane 01/08/2017 Member Since 2014
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    4
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    Story
    "Dull and boring"

    I have no idea why this book has won the
    awards it has... very disappointing

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Adele
    Paremata, Wellington, New Zealand
    23/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Mispronunciation sure, but buy it anyway!"

    All the Light We Cannot See is a well balanced gem of a book - beautifully written descriptions and dialogue. Most of all I loved the diverse and complex relationships. The humanity of all the characters was deftly captured, and the many and varied forms of love.
    A few words were noticeably mispronounced and it was a little disruptive when that happened. I got the impression that the reader was aware of some of them opted to persist rather than introduce inconsistency. Ideally those mistakes should have been spotted and corrected before publishing. However, aside from these relatively infrequent glitches I loved the narration - it was unobtrusive, understated and sensitive. I was totally engaged and had no difficulty distinguishing one character from another and certainly experienced a wide range of emotions along with the characters.
    I would encourage anyone who loves really good literature to listen to this beautiful story.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Lydia
    Melbourne, Australia
    23/05/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An exceptional novel."
    If you could sum up All the Light We Cannot See in three words, what would they be?

    Haunting.<br/>Exquisite.<br/>Multifaceted.


    What did you like best about this story?

    That it was told from perspective of 2 individuals, on opposing sides of the war.<br/>The fleeting touch of romance toward the end.


    What does Julie Teal bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narration transfixed me. I thought it was excellent.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Diamond sparkles in the dark.


    Any additional comments?

    One of the best novels I've listened to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mariechen
    29/05/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyed it the second time too, but a little less"
    Would you consider the audio edition of All the Light We Cannot See to be better than the print version?

    Not really. I read the print version a year ago and I enjoyed it a lot. I got it on audible because I loved it enough to read it again, and because I thought my blind father would enjoy it a lot. <br/>And he did.<br/>But I didn't like it as much as the print version. There are many factors that could have contributed to it, but I guess this is just not the kind of book I like to listen to in audio, if I have a choice. People like my dad don't have a choice, and they learn to love all sorts of books in audio.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Jutta! (Werner's sister)<br/>She probably could have been characterised a bit more thoroughly, but I enjoyed the way she thought for herself, and the way she supported Werner all the same. I would have liked to know her.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    In this reading, not really for me.<br/>For my dad, it was when Marie-Laure walks away from the house near the end, and when she walks towards safety. He felt it was poignant, and also very realistically written from a blind person's perspective of navigation.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Anthony
    Australia
    22/04/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Slow Dull Confusing Pointless"

    I'm not writing this to be mean. Just some advice. Don't buy this audiobook. The jumping around in time makes it too confusing for an audiobook. Slowest book I've ever read or listened to. Narrator is great but that can't save it. Nothing happens.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Robyn
    9/04/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful"

    A little difficult to keep track of the story as it jumps between characters as well as time but excellent story

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Linda
    26/03/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "a great listen"

    Loced it except for one thing. a lovely narration was marred by frequent mispronunciarions. very poetic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blanca
    22/02/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful reading. Poetry in capital letters."

    A historic view of our world, it helps us understand the ordinary and extraordinary life during ww2

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kenny
    7/02/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Read more melancholy than it should have been"

    The writing is very descriptive and at times poetic. This, along with the narrator using a melancholy tone and rhythm made it a long and dreary listen. Maybe that's what was intended.....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Molly
    13/01/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "What a naff ending ......."

    visual and historically accurate, it made me feel frustration and anger so that's something I suppose.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Michael
    CANBERRA CITY, Australia
    28/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Extraordinary Writer, Magnificent Narrator."
    Any additional comments?

    Among the best I have purchased from Audible (up there with the likes of 'Heft', 'The Life We Bury', 'The Goldfinch', Wally Lamb's books and so on). Pure listening pleasure from a very gifted writer and a very talented narrator. Didn't want this one to end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • MB
    5/10/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story, woeful narration"
    Would you listen to All the Light We Cannot See again? Why?

    No, the narrator makes too many jarring errors of pronunciation.


    What didn’t you like about Julie Teal’s performance?

    Too many mispronunciations. For example, navy - in a passage describing how huge trees were cut down to make masts for ships - the French & British navies become "navvies". Seriously - why didn't someone stop her? So many mistakes I found myself calling out the correction "Not 'straff' - STRAFE!" Just hope I didn't do it on the train.


    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • James
    Chester, United Kingdom
    6/02/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Despite the narrator"

    Technically exquisite writing - esp from the close pov of the blind girl - and the research a little too heavy to always convince as the characters' knowledge and not the writer unable to resist sharing his long hours in the library, but a story both epic and intimate, sustained and sincere, if sentimental. The narrator is almost comically inadequate. That she struggles with French and German words I can understand - but English, too? Navvies, noted in a review above, is a favourite, but her pronunciation of 'extravagance' is the best, and may outlast the memory of the book itself for me. Wasn't anybody at the recording listening to her? These errors were so numerous I decided to make them added pleasures, but, yes, the writer and the readers deserve better.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • bignewshound
    10/04/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "THE WORST NARRATION I HAVE HEARD BY A PROFESSIONAL"
    If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Great novel - almost a masterpiece but no one should have to suffer this narration.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of All the Light We Cannot See?

    Julie Teal's mispronunciations: 'Pistol Packing Maar Maar' - hilarious. As if read by a gawky public schoolgirl. So many mistakes. Embarrassing. The producer was not fit for purpose. The talent was miscast. And she clearly DIDN'T PREPARE. She just turned up and read it. BADLY. 'd think twice about casting her again. JCA, take note.


    What didn’t you like about Julie Teal’s performance?

    It was an insult to the novel. Re-voice it. Julie Teal cannot do this type of narration.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    All the above for the right reasons reading it ...and for the wrong reasons listening


    Any additional comments?

    I love this book. It is almost a masterpiece. But how can Anthony Doerr, his agent and his publisher have allowed this abysmal narration to be released. It is laughable at times and pitiful at others. I counted 11 mispronunciations in the first 90 minutes. What was poor Julie Teal's producer doing. Not listening to the recording, clearly. Absolutely awful. She's a great actor but - like quite a few TV actors - Anna Chancellor is another - dreadful as a VO and audio artist. So sad where there are some really great narrators out there who know how to do it. Please Please get rid of this version and get a competent performer to re-voice this. At least this shows that this kind of work is not easy. Too many sub-standard people are now muscling in on this. Audible is partly to blame. Please, install some quality control. You are important enough now to take a stand on behalf of your customers.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Claire
    10/02/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Two sides to every story"
    Would you consider the audio edition of All the Light We Cannot See to be better than the print version?

    No. Although it is very well performed, and the act of listening to this time-shifting and disorientating novel relates very well to the experience of the story's blind heroin, who has to rely much more on her other senses (particularly touch and sound), I think this is a novel better read in print as the point of view changes rapidly from segment to segment (there are no 'chapters' as such) and it's easier to immerse yourself in the written word in this case: so much of the novel is interior thoughts rather than dialogue, which somehow feels more personal when read by yourself.


    What other book might you compare All the Light We Cannot See to, and why?

    Any war literature - All Quiet on the Western Front for its German perspective, and even a touch of Anne Frank in the tale of Marie Laure as she is confined to the indoors for a large part of the novel, and is constantly in danger of discovery for her household's role in the Resistance. It has a touch of fantasy with the folklore surrounding the diamond, and it could also be viewed as the tale of an orphaned young girl during occupied France.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    I fear I shouldn't say due to spoilers, but I really liked the way the time shifts gradually revealed missing details to the reader without losing any sense of the tension the characters experience.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I liked hearing Werner's interior thoughts, especially that he just wanted to stay in that moment and that place for a thousand years, knowing he would want nothing else.


    Any additional comments?

    At the beginning of the novel, I feared it would unfold like a Dan Brown - too much jarring American-english, impossible situations too heroically overcome - but the characterisation and themes are too intense for that to happen: the horrors of WW2 are always shocking and gut-wrenching to read about, and several incidents in this novel offer no exception (spoilers: the Vienna incident; Frederick, his Mother; Volkheimer's actions; Jutta and Fray Elena's horrific ordeal; Daniel leBlanc's pitifully optimistic letters to try to protect his daughter; all the loss of life), so it's no fluffy, escapist read.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Brendan Hayes
    26/07/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful, absolutely wonderful"
    Where does All the Light We Cannot See rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's up in the top five. My book club - I'm 7 years in this book club....... - voted it the best book we had ever read..... Now!


    What other book might you compare All the Light We Cannot See to, and why?

    I suppose "The Girl who Dropped from the Sky" covered a similar epoch.


    What does Julie Teal bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    i'm a convert to audiobooks because of the acting/voicing talents of the narrators/actors/actresses. It's like the difference between a b/w and 3D colour movie for me. The narrator is a huge contributor to the enjoyment of the book.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Historical Fiction at its very best


    Any additional comments?

    Now I'll have to ensure I visit St-Malo sometime soon in the future, to see the actual geography being writing about. I wonder does no.4 Rue Voberelle exist....???? Will I be able to resist walking the beach and looking in the ocean for the sea of Flames.......<br/><br/>I want to thank Anthony Doerr for his talent. I searched the internet for a way to contact him to personally thank him for this book..no luck...so I hope he gets to read my thanks here.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • yvonne tomlin
    3/01/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A well told Story"

    This book more than met my expectations. The story was very moving and extremely well told. I would recommend it.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • ucellina
    24/09/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Tedious"

    Turgid prose plus distracting narration make this a painful listen. Those who like redundant adverbs/adjectives crammed into every available space and have nostalgic thoughts of a British ladies with apparent social aspirations might enjoy it.

    As a rule, I don't mind eccentric pronunciations but these are constantly shifting (e.g. Marie is variously pronounced Mary, Murray, Marray etc.) and therefore confusing and distracting. Many pronunciations of foreign words are outright incomprehensible and rather a lot of English words read with great affectation. These factors would be outweighed by an otherwise strong performance or a great book but this felt like a book read aloud in a classroom with the pronunciations a jarring distraction. The mind can never sink in to enjoy the story.

    I don't think I would have loved this book if I'd read it myself - it's bloated - but the narration really killed it for me.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • kristina
    22/08/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "no plot, just descriptions"

    bad bad choice, I did not even finish it. I had high expectations because a friend recommended it but... should have read the summary before...there is really no plot

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • I can update on my kindle but you need to wait a while
    17/04/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful story. Narration a disappointment."

    Jarring pronunciation of certain words. Such a shame. Otherwise very enjoyable. Come on Julie. You're reading a prizewinning book. You could have done much better than that.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Nicola
    kinoulton, United Kingdom
    17/11/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fabulous story, marred by distracting narration"
    Would you consider the audio edition of All the Light We Cannot See to be better than the print version?

    Haven't read the print version but many times wished I was reading it myself to avoid the many jolting mispronunciations by the narrator. They were very distracting and such a shame as it spoilt the flow of the story for me. So, no, I'd recommend the print version for that reason!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of All the Light We Cannot See?

    I loved the story, the characters and the vivid settings. The account of Werner's schooling at the hands of the Third Reich was really chilling, especially the victimisation of his friend Frederick.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Julie Teal’s performances?

    No I don't think so. She has a lovely clear voice and I trusted her to tell the story, but there were just too many bizarre errors in pronunciation.


    Any additional comments?

    A wonderful book that deserved better attention to detail in the production of this audio version.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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