Thursday, 18 June 2015

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

If you've been wondering whether or not to tackle the chunkster that is this year's Pulitzer prize winning novel, hopefully the quote below will tempt you to jump right in.

I've been reading All the Light We Cannot See since last week. It is an extraordinary story, so well told, so beautifully realised, but it did take me a little while to get into its rhythm.

Set in France and Germany during WWII, the story is told from two main points of view in brief, elegant chapters across several time frames. Even though I've read lots of books like this and I could always see the potential of this particular story, I did find it slow to warm. 

Fortunately, I persisted, and I hope you do too, because eventually you get to a point where you cannot put this book down!

Let me give you a little snippet from page 71 of my edition:

Those last nights in Paris, walking home with her father at midnight, the huge book clasped against her chest, Marie-Laure thinks she can sense a shiver beneath the air, in the pauses between the chirring of the insects, like the spider cracks of ice when too much weight is set upon it. As if all the time the city has been no more than a scale model built by her father and the shadow of a great hand has fallen over it.

I hope this tempts you to give All the Light We Cannot See a go.
If you love literary historical fiction as I do, you wont regret one single word.

But that's enough dawdling for me - it's time for me to finish the last dozen or so chapters!

This post is linking up to Thursday Quotables hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies & Dreaming of France.


  1. It is a lovely book. I'm happy I read it.

  2. I do want to read it, just a question of when...

  3. i dont think is for me but the quote is great
    Gill X

  4. I've borrowed this from the library twice and had to return it unread both times... so many holds. As the saying goes, let's hope the third time's a charm :)

  5. I loved this book so much. I cried at the end.

    1. I confess that I adored the book all the way through, but the ending left me feeling a little cold.

      ****SPOILER ALERT****
      I thought the sudden big time jumps and the focus on technology a bit too much of a stretch. I felt the technology used during the war was about communication and connection and that if he wanted to explore how technology for communication and connection has changed over the decades then that's what he should have written, not just a quick couple of chapters at the end with a grandson playing a game.
      But I did like having the main characters storylines wrapped up. It was satisfying seeing how they all ended up, even if some of it was bittersweet knowledge.

  6. Anonymous19/6/15

    I'm planning to read this book next month while I'm on vacation, and I'm so excited for it! Lovely passage - thanks for sharing!

  7. I want to read this book so much! The quote you shared made me want to read it even more! I'll definitely give it a go during the summer :)

    Aeriko @

  8. Anonymous21/6/15

    I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I certainly did; I think it has one of the best openings I've read in a long time. (Unlike you, I got sucked in right from the first page.)

  9. beautiful quote - thx for sharing and hapPy reading !

    1. Yes, I thought it was a great description of a city on the brink or war and a huge change.

  10. Yes I agree. I felt it a vivid human story in the midst of the toll of war. Done very well. I too felt the ending was little less than I was hoping for. But early on, Marie in that house was wonderfully done.

  11. Anonymous4/7/15

    I also works beautifully as an audiobook

  12. Very inspired historical fiction. It shows both sides with humanity; I think with truth as well. The method of going back and forth in time and place with the characters added interest. His style made it reasonably easy for you to know where and when you were most of the time. The longer I read the harder it was to put it down. A really good read. BUT I am glad I did not live in those places at this time.

    Top rated Real Estate Horseshoe Bay


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