Nominated by:

Calgary Public Library, Canada

Stadtbücherei Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Leipziger Stadtische Bibliotheken, Germany

Veria Central Public Library, Greece

Galway County Library, Ireland

De Bibliotheek Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Pikes Peak Library District, Colorado Springs, USA

Richland Library, Columbia, USA

New Hampshire State Library, USA

Denver Public Library, USA

Houston Public Library, USA

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, USA

San José Public Library, USA

Lincoln Library, Springfield, USA

Publisher of nominated edition:

Scribner, USA

All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr      

2016 Longlist

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Anthony Doerr is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel All the Light We Cannot See. He is also the author of two story collections Memory Wall and The Shell Collector, the novel About Grace, and the memoir Four Seasons in Rome. He has won four O. Henry Prizes, the Rome Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award, the National Magazine Award for fiction, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Story Prize. Doerr lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two sons.

Librarians’ Comments

The amazingly beautiful story of two young adults, one French, one German, caught up in the cruelties of World War 2.

We selected Doerr’s novel based on its seamless blend of setting and plot. His ability to recreate the gritty feel / emotions of a country ravaged by war draws the reader in and doesn’t let go.

This compelling and lyrical novel set during World War 2 tells the alternating, parallel lives of Marie-Laure, a blind girl living with her father in France, and Werner, a German orphan. Their paths ultimately converge in this tale of childhood interrupted by the ugliness of war, but also touched by light and beauty.

Doerr has written a moving novel with compelling characters who struggle to survive with dignity amidst the brutality of war.

A highly entertaining story with brisk chapters and gorgeous language, Doerr’s novel is written in the present tense, with flashbacks that are easy to follow. The story follows two characters whose lives will intersect by the end of the Second World War, a 16-year-old blind girl, Marie Laure Leblanc, who joins the resistance and Warner Pfeffing, an orphaned engineering prodigy, who is recruited into the Nazi ranks. Doerr manages to tackle issues such as survival, moral obligation and endurance and captures the innate goodness of the characters. A masterful feat of storytelling.

This precisely plotted tale of an orphaned Nazi conscript deftly weaves history, fiction and fable into one of 2014’s most important novels.

In occupied France, a blind adolescent and her uncle flee Paris. In Nazi Germany a young soldier moves with the occupying forces into France. Their stories, in short alternate chapters, move from past info future, until their lives intersect at war’s end. A beautiful heartwarming story of the triumph of the human spirit.

A magnificently written story of World War 2 in northern France and Germany. Short chapters, written in altenate voices carry the reaer swiftly through the novel. Each voice is distinct and each character holds part of the key to the central mystery of the work. Uplifting without being sentimental, Doerr expertly recreates this period of recent history and makes us care about the characters whatever their political or geographic orientation.

Hauntingly beautiful and stunningly ambitious New York Times bestseller 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. Ten years in the making, this dazzling and epic work of fiction is a captivating and heartbreaking account of two teenagers coming of age on opposite sides of the conflict.

All the Light We Cannot See is a deeply moving tale about two young people whose lives intertwine during World War II. With huge knowledge and an outstanding imagery, Doerr produces a masterpiece of storytelling.

A story of childhood interrupted by war. A beautiful novel with very good writing and real emotion behind every word.

An amazing story displaying the capacity for goodness in the face of evil.

A beautifully written, very moving novel.

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