Book Reviews

All the light we cannot see (Anthony Doerr) – Book Review

All The Light We Cannot See Book Review

All the Light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr – set in World War II era and the aftermath of the war is an excellent work of historical fiction. 


The story revolves around *Marie Laure* – a French blind girl and *Werner Pfennig* – an orphan German boy and how their paths are set to cross each other.

Marie lives in Paris with her father working as a locksmith in the Museum of National History. At the age of 6, Marie goes blind and to bring out her confidence, her father gifts her model of the Parisian neighborhood every year on her birthday. The model also takes a center stage towards the end. Marie & her father flee Paris to Saint-Malo once the German attack the French capital for a safe haven in her great uncle’s house by the sea wall in Saint-Malo. Apart from being a locksmith, the father is also the safe keeper of a historic treasure ultimately leading to the separation of the father-daughter duo.

Later, the relationship between Marie and her uncle evolves and now support one another. Werner lives in a German orphanage with his younger sister Jutta with a craving for studies. He finds an old radio once and intrigued by the machinery, Werner becomes an expert in building & fixing radios. This lands him a spot in an elite Military academy of the Hitler youth & a job as a resistance tracker in Russia and ultimately till France where his path cross with Marie.

All The Light We Cannot See

Literal Meaning of the Title

In the words of the author-

It’s a reference first and foremost to all the light we literally cannot see: that is, the wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum that are beyond the ability of human eyes to detect (radio waves, of course, being the most relevant). It’s also a metaphorical suggestion that there are countless invisible stories still buried within World War II — that stories of ordinary children, for example, are a kind of light we do not typically see. Ultimately, the title is intended as a suggestion that we spend too much time focused on only a small slice of the spectrum of possibility.

All The Light We Cannot See

My Review

The Anthony Doerr book will enlighten you psychologically about the human behavior and the impacts of the surrounding events. Being a WWII based novel, it is expected not to have a happy ending but it will leave with a daunting story to treasure for days if not weeks.

The division of the story into two parallel stories and the interconnection between are elegantly woven together makes the book a thrilling read. A fable expressed poetically delivers the childhood thoughts about the *real-self* while enduring war will soothe your poetic senses.

The storyline was both beautiful and harrowing at the same time. To see the character of Werner maturing being a part of the Hitler youth is hard hitting and chilling! The journey of Marie from a 6-year-old to landing a part in the resistance was expressed beautifully that will keep you glued to the book.

The book is a reminder of the traumas of the WWII and strongly comprehends the birth of the French Resistance – where the French reconvene with transcendent patriotism and a dream of free France. The importance of the resistance is imminently recorded throughout the novel as well making it a central point towards the two main protagonists.

I would suggest reading the book slowly to take it all in, else you might just lose the poetic expression and might not grasp the literal sense of the book.

The book is a page-turner, deeply moving and a metamorphic story that you will look back for the rest of your life”.
I highly recommend it for anyone interested in reading through the fragments of WWII, the beautiful poetic narration, and realization of the true self!!

Rating – 5 stars

A reader’s note – You might shed some tears in the end too 😉

All The Light We Cannot See

Interested in my reading list?? – See my list on Goodreads here.
– The Wanderer
Follow me on Instagram and Twitter.

This GuestPost is written for LiveItYoung by Shivani. She is a gem of a person and I’m so glad to have met her through this December BlogHop.

About Shivani

Shivani is a Software Developer by profession and an avid book lover with a book in hand mostly, from the capital of India – Delhi. She is an avid traveler who is always trying to break the corporate bondage every now and then to travel at the first opportunity available. Shivani keeps herself engaged by planning her next expedition and loves to go on impromptu trips.

Her favorite line – “*Do what you love and love what you do!!* ” and thus traveling, reading and writing is what she is passionate about… and is following her heart now!!

You can read her personal well-crafted travel stories and the books she loves at “The Wandering Core


 I am participating in the December blog hop #mymojo with Shalzmojo

Linking up for #wordsante with Namysaysso for every post deserves some love.

Word Sante

Author: rashi mital

A mother and a travel enthusiast, I love speed and am proud of my driving skills. In my free time I love reading, writing, and sometimes doing nothing. I try to live every moment and believe in living young despite the age.

8 Comments on “All the light we cannot see (Anthony Doerr) – Book Review

  1. Wow! The book seems like a must read. I enjoyed your review which was different from many I have encountered who just rehash the story in their reviews. I need to ‘book’mark this for a time i start buying some books again

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *