Book Review: All The Lights We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Book Review_ All The Lights We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, feature image

All The Lights We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: Would you ever experience the magic of radio? When you are hearing the voice of a stranger with a little device, well it is not a big deal for today’s world, but it was strange things for the history of humanity in the late 30s; that’s what is captured in this novel which I am reviewing this time All the lights we cannot see by Anthony Doerr. The book delivers the scenario of what’s happening in Germany in the late 30s and how it’s leading up to the war. 

All the lights we cannot see by Anthony Doerr follow the story of two teenagers during world war II. One blind girl, who excels at studying science, lives in Nazi-occupied France with her father, the locksmith at the museum. On the other side, a German orphan boy, who is gifted with interest in electronics, pressed into the service by the Nazi Army. The story goes back and forth between their lives. Both their paths collide as they try to survive the destruction of WW2.

The structure of the novel has many exciting things that keep you going in searching off between two stories that lead to a kind of curiosity and keep you engaged in seeing how these characters build the story and how they all are going to come together. The novel touches on many themes, including the power of voice. If you are excited to know how this novel expresses its story and how these characters are growing with the story, then enjoy this article with me. I assure you that you will learn more fascinating things about the novel.

So don’t worry, I am not going to spoil anything, and I don’t want to hinder anyone’s enjoyment of this book, but a brief synopsis of the book. 

All The Lights We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr | General Overview 

All The Lights We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr _ General Overview | Quotes

About the Author

Anthony Doerr 

Anthony Doerr is an American author of novels and short stories. He was raised in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, and lives in Boise, Idaho, USA. Anthony has done his schooling from a nearby school and completed his graduation in 1991. Then he majored in history from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, in 1995. He earned an MFA from Bowling Green state university. He gained widespread recognition for his novel and was a New York Times bestseller. All the lights we cannot see were his second novel published in 2014 by Scribner.

All The Lights We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr | Review

All The Lights We Cannot See is a historical fiction written by Anthony Doerr, published on 6 May 2014. The novel received great praises and was a finalist for the National Book Awards of fiction. Book won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2015, winner of the Carnegie medal for excellence in fiction, winner of the indies choice book award from the American book association, and won the 2015 Ohioana library association book award for fiction.

The book All the lights we cannot see is a war novel set in occupied France during world war 2nd. It is told in almost 200 short chapters that all the times cuts back and forth across two main characters, around a dual perspective of a blind French girl Marie Laure and a German boy Werner pfennig, whose path ultimately crosses as they both try to survive the damage of world war 2nd.

All The Lights We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr | Book Summary 

In 1934 Marie Laura, a six-year-old, lived with a loving father named Denial, who works in Paris’s museum of natural history. Marie Laura begins to lose her eyesight and goes blind. Adjusting to this Denial makes a beautiful model of the city Paris for Marie to navigate her way around the city gradually. When the Germans occupied Paris in June of 1940, father and daughter ran away to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where her uncle lives in a tall, narrow house of the sea wall.

In another world in Germany, in 1934, Werner Pfennig, an eight-year-old boy who lives with his sister Jutta Pfennig at an orphanage. Werner is an intelligent boy though he fears being sent to work in mines when he turns 15. The head of the orphanage, a French woman named Frau Elena, teaches him to speak French and German and encourages him to explore his interests in science. One day warner falls upon radio and becomes a master at fixing radios. This talent puts him in a brutal military academy and makes him specialize in tracking radioresistance.

As the German invaded Paris, Marie and her father Denial left the city with been assigned to hide the sea of flames a diamond from the nazi invaders to protect it from the Germans. The novel follows the disappearance of her father. And the rebellion takes place against the germans from Madame manic, Etienne, and the people who live in their neighborhood. 

A year later, Werner’s role is to hunt down the resistance movement who are using radios, and more and more people are killed. Warner’s conscience slowly overcomes his ignorance and ambition. While Werner is in saint malo tracking Marie’s radio podcasts, the allied bomber bombed the city. Both were trapped in separate locations. In the end, the broadcast saved their lives. They are United in their ties to the radio. Finally, their paths converge in the future.

What to Take Away from the Book?

All The Lights We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr Cover image.
Source: The Reader

The novel describes the lifestyle of the two characters as their passion for knowledge beyond their difficulties. The writing style of Anthony Doerr was phenomenal and pushed the story forward. The character’s development was expressive and is described in detail. The chapters are short with characters’ stories in them.

 As we learn how many people come together, we have a blind girl who has to learn how to stand on her own feet for herself in the world. On the other hand, we have an intelligent orphan boy, but circumstances pushed into a situation that he doesn’t want to be a part of. We can learn a lot from the book as it sheds its broaches in many lessons. 

My Thoughts on the Book All The Lights We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. 

I think this book shows how people have the power to make choices and how people respond to situations in life is different. Throughout the novel, you will see how these characters adapt themselves to the problem their life is providing them.

 So this novel reveals how much power has been given to this weapon, making them larger than life, which can result in a very destructive manner. You will see how these characters are willing to survive till the end, with all the darkness around them, crushing them with their feet and moving forward.

Rating of the Book All The Lights We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr 

The book All the lights we cannot see by Anthony Doerr earned 4/5 stars from me.

Conclusion & Recommendations | All The Lights We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

The book is super fantastic, and I recommend this to anyone who loves reading or is instructed in historical fiction. This historical fiction captures the period of world war 2nd with the magic of radio. As you read the novel, you will develop themes like survival, determination, courage, nationalism, darkness and light, and fate or destiny that will fill you with a satisfying reading.

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