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All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr Audiobook Review

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All the Light We Cannot See

Written by: Anthony Doerr

Narrated by: Zach Appelman

Length: 16 hours and 2 minutes

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date: May 6, 2014

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

When attempting to explore the horrific history of the Nazis, there are many books that can do the trick. Although the majority of these were written in the past, there are a few modern gems, which perfectly transport the reader back to the World War II era. This is where All the Light We Cannot See enters into the picture. The American author, Anthony Doerr, dips into the history books and conjures up a more uplifting, although bleak, tale. He manages to explore the lives of polar opposites living on different sides of the battlefield.

Of course, as Anthony Doerr shows up, the polar opposites are very similar and their eventual meeting will surprise. The 2014 novel is definitely a great read and the audiobook is sure to please. How good is it? You will be able to find out below!

The Narration
Zach Appelman has managed to win over his audience again in his audio narration of the All the Light We Cannot See. Appleman carefully develops young Etienne and Marie-Laure LeBlanc, so the listener can actually sense and feel the same emotions, as each character. This is an emotional story that pulls two damaged characters together to form a very loving and strong relationship.

Appelman has definitely outdone himself in this splendid work of art, without actually changing his voice for the characters. This is a risky move by the narrator, but he managed to pull it off beautifully. The key to Appelman’s success definitely has something to do with his ability to pull the reader into the story line, while allowing them to absorb the experience into their heart and soul.

With this being said, Appelman compels the listener to connect to the characters in magical ways that cannot be explained. You may even find yourself holding your breath and begging the author for a happy ending. In order for the audience to appreciate the novel, they will have to focus all of their attention on each event and every detail.

You should not be put off by length of the audiobook, because there is much of the story to be told during this time period. This is not something that the author has done intentionally, just to hold the audiences’ attention. As a matter of fact, the writing is exquisite and the narrator tells the story in a very tender and enlightening manner. Appelman switches back-and-forth with individual characters and timelines wonderfully.

The story builds and builds, until the very end at which time, you will find it very difficult to say goodbye to the characters.

The Story

In order to fully grasp the tale, which unfolds in the audiobook, it is essential to explore the 2014 book itself. An audiobook is destined to be a failure, if its source material is flawed. This is where All the Light We Cannot See truly excels. The book won the 2015 Pulitzer Price for Fiction and it is truly easy to see why. The 544-page book is a page-turner and is only enhanced, by the release of the audiobook. The book focuses on two totally different individuals, a German boy and a blind French girl.

The story takes place in 1934 and Anthony Doerr’s ability to drag the reader to that point in time is truly unparalleled. Right from the start, the reader is given the opportunity to connect with the French girl, Marie-Laure LeBlanc, and her father. Despite being fully blind and with the help of her father, Marie-Laure manages to learn how to navigate through her Paris neighborhood. Her resilience is impressive and is truly inspiration. Doerr also does an excellent job building the relationship between Marie-Laure and her father.

TOnce the listener has acquainted him or herself with Marie-Laure and her father, they’ll quickly be introduced to an 8-year old German boy, Werner Pfennig and his sister, Jutta. Despite being orphans, the pair are very wise, especially Werner. After the pair discovers a broken raid, Werner shows off his skills and gets it up and running quickly. They utilize the radio to listen to French broadcasts. Unfortunately, Werner’s skills will lead him into future problems, when he is sent to an elite Nazi training school. At the same time, Marie-Laure and her father are forced to flee from pair, once the Nazis invade.

Without giving too much away, Marie-Laure and Werner’s paths will eventually meet. The events that unfold from that point forward will leave the listener or reader grabbing for tissues. The success of the book relies entirely on the characters. Suffice to say, Marie-Laure and Werner are two, which anyone could sympathize with. In fact, they pair will remain embedded in your mind long after the narrator’s voice has faded.

All the Light We Cannot See is truly a gripping tale, which will keep the reader hooked, until the very last. The book is downright fascinating and the audiobook is undoubtedly even better!

Overall

When it comes down to it, there are many books that follow the same path as All the Light We Cannot See. However, Anthony Doerr has managed to do something unique and special with his novel. Instead of focusing on the battlefield conflicts, Doerr’s desire to tell the tale from the point of view of two innocent children is truly genius. The youthful characters are tremendously easy to connect with. Although some elements are a little predictable, the story is gripping nonetheless.

The novel will undoubtedly go down in history as a classic and Zach Appelman’s brilliant performance should help the audiobook achieve the same status. His performance throughout the 16 hour drama is unwavering and will keep you fascinated, until the very end. Once it is all over, All the Light We Cannot See will remain with you for a substantial period of time. The story is truly that good and skipping it would be a terrible mistake.

All the Light We Cannot See Audiobook (Review)
Date Published: 11/28/2015
4.5 / 5 stars

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