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All The Light We Cannot See | Anthony Doerr | Book Review

Book Review

All The Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr

Review by Sidra Javed

User Rating: 4.07 ( 1 votes)

All The Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr
Review by Sidra Javed

There are books that you read and like. Some you just read and forget. But some stay with you for a long period of time. All The Light We Cannot See is one of those books. A magnificently woven characters shining brightly in the dark and doomed sky, looking down at the war torn world.


There are stories that start with happiness and later the turmoil and devastation of events drain you emotionally. (If you are like me, you will cry like rivers). But, then there are stories like All The Light We Cannot See, where loss and sorrow seep slowly into your soul and make a home there. The tragedy unwraps slowly and embraces you completely. The time period is work war ll, Hitler’s forces invading France.

In All The Light We Cannot See, Marie Laure visited all the world around her by the age of six. Then she lost her eyesight. For her the world is a maze in which she follows the juggling sound of keys in her father’s pocket. Her father is a locksmith at the Museum of Natural History in Paris. In the Museum Marie learns about a rare but cursed Diamond. When the German forces invaded Paris the management made copies of the diamond. They sent it in different directions, to avoid the plunder of Nazis. Nobody knows who has the real diamond. One of them is sent with Marie’s father.


Father and daughter move to the walled city of Saint Malo to take shelter at her great uncle’s house Etienne. Etienne used to run a radio transmission with his brother from their attic. During the WWI, his brother lost his life leaving him so traumatised that he didn’t leave the house for years. But the transmission travelled hundreds of miles away to the ears of Werner and his sister Jutta. All The Light We Cannot See takes a new turn here.

Werner is a German orphan living in an orphanage with his sister in a small mining town. He finds a radio from a dumpster. He fixes it and is transported into a wonderfully land of possibilities. His extraordinary abilities with transmission devices landed him in a training camp and later threw into a war like situation with many other boys. They all had no idea what this war was about and why they were fighting it. He, with teammates, handed over the duty to locate and destroy enemy transmissions. While at it Werner finds the transmission of Etienne and Marie. Thus, destiny brings these two together.


All The Light We Cannot See tells us about the destruction, loss and trauma of the war. The looting, killing and plundering of things that took generations to build. On the other hand Werner’s story gives us an insight on the atrocities of war on Germans. A whole generation of young people was used as ammunition to fuel this damn war. Lives like Werner were destroyed. Hence this book is unique in a way that it gives you an insight into both sides and makes one realise that there are no winners in a war, both sides lose.


When I read All The Light We Cannot See, the characters are real people for me. When the story ends, I make my own extended version of what would happen next. So, I loved when the author gave an account of how the characters lived decades later during the war. This makes it more real. It’s a lengthy story with 500+ pages. But, the vivid beauty of prose keeps you hooked. You are propelled to read on as the story keeps evolving. I strongly recommend it.

Previous Review by Fehmeeda Farid Khan, اک عمر کے طلسم میں

About Sidra Javed

Sidra Javed is a home maker yet reading enthusiast. She loves reading different genres and likes to share her views with others, hoping this will inspire others to take up reading books. On the contrary she's interested in Calligraphy and Art too. She loves adding creativity and delicacy in food.

One comment

  1. Hi there just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same outcome.

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