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ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE, published in 2014, is a historical fiction novel by Anthony Doerr.
ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It also spent 1 week at #1 on the NYT Bestseller List.
Every couple of days he’ll startle the directress with some unanswerable query: “Why do we get hiccups, Frau Elena?”
ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE Synopsis
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.
ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE Analysis Of:
All the Light We Cannot See is used as an example in the following posts. Check them out!
|Present Tense||Present tense happens now. Check out 5 times it’s the best choice for your novel.|
|Omniscient Point of View||Omniscient point of view is all knowing. Learn 5 times to use it in your story.|
|Dialogue Tags||Learn why “___ said” is the best dialogue tag you can use (plus breakdowns of modern fiction).|
ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE Book Review Roundup
All the Light We Cannot See is a stunning and beautiful novel. The writing is superb. The settings and characters are so developed it’s like you’re with them.
However, the plot is not as developed. It’s a very slow-burn observe-the-world-around-you type book which isn’t for everyone. I loved it and highly recommend you read it.
But that’s just my opinion, what did others think?
This book was so rich.– A Beautiful Mess
Few books in the recent times had my attention the way this one did.– Udayology
Check out these writing exercises and prompts inspired by ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE.
Prompt: The Opening Paragraph(s)
This is the opening paragraph of the novel. Ignore everything you know about the story and use it as a writing prompt.
Your Task: Using as much detail as possible, write another 300+ words.
Chapter 1: Leaflets
At dusk they pour from the sky. They blow across the ramparts, turn cartwheels over rooftops, flutter into the ravines between houses. Entire streets swirl with them, flashing white against the cobbles. Urgent message to the inhabitants of this town, they say. Depart immediately to open country.
Exercise: Tense Change
For me, present tense didn’t suit most of this novel. I didn’t mind it as much Marie, but I didn’t care for it at all when it was following Werner.
Your Task: Rewrite a scene from present tense to past tense.
Your Options: You may change any details you want (or change none), as long as the scene is in the past tense.
Need an idea?
I would change a Werner scene since I didn’t like his scenes being told in the present tense.
Here’s the first paragraph of Zollverein
|Werner Pfennig grows up three hundred miles northeast of Paris in a place called Zollverein: a four-thousand-acre coalmining complex outside Essen, Germany. It’s steel country, anthracite country, a place full of holes. Smokestacks fume and locomotives trundle back and forth on elevated conduits and leafless trees stand atop slag heaps like skeleton hands shoved up from the underworld.||Werner Pfennig grew up three hundred miles northeast of Paris in a place called Zollverein: a four-thousand-acre coalmining complex outside Essen, Germany. It was steel country, anthracite country, a place full of holes. Smokestacks fumed and locomotives trundled back and forth on elevated conduits and leafless trees stood atop slag heaps like skeleton hands shoved up from the underworld.|
Exercise: Prove It
This is going to be a tedious drill. Sorry, not sorry.
Your Task: Go through the novel and find (at least) 5 examples that prove this novel has an omniscient narrator.
Need an idea?
Open the book. Read carefully. Think about every piece of information given – could the character have known that?
ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE Facts
|May 06, 2014|
(according to amazon)
(according to amazon)
(As of Feb 2019)
(As of Feb 2019)
ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE Thoughts?
Have you read ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE?
If so, what did you think? If not, will you?
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PS. share your exercises in the comments below. I’d love to see them.