Use these discussion questions to guide your next meeting.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. 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, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.
Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).
This recommended reading and discussion guide is shared and sponsored in partnership with Simon and Schuster.
THE DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
The book opens with two epigraphs. How do these quotes set the scene for the rest of the book? Discuss how the radio plays a major part in the story and the time period. How do you think the impact of the radio back then compares with the impact of the Internet on today’s society?
The narration moves back and forth both in time and between different characters. How did this affect your reading experience? How do you think the experience would have been different if the story had been told entirely in chronological order?
Whose story did you enjoy the most? Was there any character you wanted more insight into?
All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel
“Stunning… Uplifting… Not to be missed.” –Entertainment Weekly
“Hauntingly beautiful.” –The New York Times
“Each and every person in this finely spun assemblage is distinct and true.” –USA Today
“Intertwines secret radio broadcasts, a cursed diamond, a soldier’s deepest doubts into a richly compelling package… Irresistible.” –People
“Gorgeous… Moves with the pace of a thriller.” –San Francisco Chronicle
“Enthrallingly told, beautifully written.” —Amanda Vaill, The Washington Post