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All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel Audio CD – Unabridged, April 4, 2017
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About the Author
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster Audio; Unabridged edition (April 4, 2017)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1508239789
- ISBN-13 : 978-1508239789
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5 x 1.4 x 5.88 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #357,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Top reviews from the United States
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But all that said, I didn't find it enjoyable to read.
It took a while to figure out why. Even while reading it I'm thinking to myself "This is so good", but at the same time wondering why I'm bored and looking forward to the next book.
Finally I think I nailed it. Nothing really happens. It's all set in amongst the background of a lot happening, but other than hearing about it, there's not much that really goes on with the characters that so much time has been spent making us love.
This feels like all the parts of a fantastic book that happen BETWEEN the major plot points.
I spent the majority of this book waiting for something to happen, and when it doesn't it feels like there no payoff for the time invested in these characters.
Maybe this is what literary fiction is about. I can see why people may like it. It's life through the eyes of others.
But books are a form of entertainment. This wasn't entertaining to me, and I couldn't wait to start a new book.
For one thing, Doerr’s verbs nail the action in arresting ways. Bombers “shed” altitude. Pigeons “cataract” down a cathedral spire and “wheel out” over the sea. Teacups “drift” off shelves, and paintings “slip” off nails. Dread “trundles” up from the blind girl’s gut. Car horns “bleat.” Snowflakes “tick and patter” through trees.
This prose begs to be read aloud or at least heard by your inner ear. Consider these snippets:
“…the low moonlit lumps of islands ranged along the horizon.” (Oh, the consonance—all those lush l’s, not to mention the two soft m’s woven in: “moonlit lumps”!)
“…the last unevacuated townspeople wake, groan, sigh. Spinsters, prostitutes, men over sixty. Procrastinators, collaborators, disbelievers, drunks. Nuns of every order. The poor. The stubborn. The blind.” (Oh, the rhythm—you can practically see the conductor’s baton twitching to the beat of “wake, groan, sigh.” My toe is tapping at the next line: “Spinsters, prostitutes, men over sixty.” I’m clapping along as if to a jumprope chant by the time we get to “Procrastinators, collaborators, disbelievers, drunks. Nuns of very order…”)
”…each storm drain, park bench, and hydrant…” (Each DAAH-dum, DAAH-dum, and DA-dum!)
“Cold fog hangs in the budding trees.” (Each of the first three words—“Cold” and “fog” and “hangs”—takes a full beat, slowing the sentence down, defying forward movement. It’s as if these three words themselves are hanging there—BOM BOM BOM—in the budding trees.)
No wonder this novel took me so long to read. I read it for the poetry.
Whether or not you read for this singular kind of pleasure, you’ll find this story a timely reminder of humanity during a time of inhumanity.
And you’ll write more masterfully for reading it.
Call me old-fashioned, but I used to love browsing bookstores in person, and the rise of the internet has made it all too easy to find and purchase subpar (albeit popular) books. There are so many entertainment alternatives that many truly great stories go under the radar...until it's announced that they'll be made into a movie (in fact, many read like screenplays, as if the author anticipates that's where the paycheck is). And yes, the characters and the interwoven storyline and the dramatic WWII backdrop could make for a blockbuster hit.
But. This is a book you really should read, and relish. (I read this on my kindle and hid the progress percentage because I didn't want it to end.) Doerr writes with absolutely beautiful imagery. It's emotional and vivid and earnest. A wonderful reminder that books were written to provide a unique insight into how others think, and feel, and live, and love.
Top reviews from other countries
Is happy a word to be used when talking about this book, this time period? Maybe not but the author did make me very happy. It’s very important to me that I feel connected to the characters and transported to places in the books and it did that and more.
The book jumps from time periods of Marie-Laure’s and Werner’s life, from their teen years to their younger years and back and forth. Sometimes it was a bit confusing to keep track of it, sometimes because it was an e-book, it was even frustrating to not be able to flip back to the pages I lost my thread. (An actual paperback really helps with this, it just gives me satisfaction if nothing else.)
Everything about the book made me fall in love with it. There are the usual World War II horrors and you can’t escape them, most times, I was so acutely uncomfortable with the scene but I moved ahead anyway. This book is an absolute must-read if you like reading about the World War II. Not because it’s super informative or because there’s tons of other things that could make you relate to the people of the times more. It’s more to understand how it felt for the children, for those who grew up in Germany and had to join Hitler’s army. For the children who had nobody left, those who couldn’t do much for themselves. Marie-Laure and Werner might be fictional but there were real people who were in their places at some point. They must have faced countless problems and horrors.
It is that feeling that makes me think that people should really read it.
I have a lot of wonderful things to say about it and I could say it but there’s also the one bit that I felt almost unnecessary in the book. Yes, the hunt for the Sea of Flames. The diamond. That part always felt unnecessary and almost tacked on as if it was an afterthought. I am not saying I didn’t enjoy the fantasy of it and there was a realistic part to it but at the same time, it just didn’t click with the rest of the book.
However that does not negate all the awesome things about this book and so, this remains a five-star book.
I would recommend it to anyone who loves to read World War II fiction or who wants to see how language can be elevated to this level. If you wanna read in leisure, you totally can!! This book, despite it being based during the World War II, has an almost unhurried pace to it. It’s just me who wouldn’t stop reading.
And if you still have any doubts about this book, it’s worth mentioning that it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2015. So, there’s that?
Marie Laure is an 11 yrs old blind girl, who is taken from Paris to St Malo, by her father for safety. Werner is an 11 yrs old German boy, who is a genius with technology i e old fashioned radios of the era. He attends an elite school for the German Ideal. Werner progresses to be an important part of discovering illegal radios used by the Resistance in the St Malo area.
Some very interesting facts are given and there’s obviously a lot going on; mostly about the sadness, hardship and devastating consequences of war. Paths cross along the way. Various plot threads interact. There are some heroic pleasing characters and equally some distasteful cruel individuals.
Would recommend but advise sticking with the unusual style.