Anthony Doerr
Anthony Doerr's novel All the Light We Cannot See has been one of this summer's big hits. We talk to Anthony about creating his tender new novel.


Doerr presents us with two intricate stories, both of which take place during World War II; late in the novel, inevitably, they intersect.

In August 1944, Marie-Laure LeBlanc is a blind 16-year-old living in the walled port city of Saint-Malo in Brittany and hoping to escape the effects of Allied bombing. D-Day took place two months earlier, and Cherbourg, Caen and Rennes have already been liberated. She’s taken refuge in this city with her great-uncle Etienne, at first a fairly frightening figure to her. Marie-Laure’s father was a locksmith and craftsman who made scale models of cities that Marie-Laure studied so she could travel around on her own. He also crafted clever and intricate boxes, within which treasures could be hidden. Parallel to the story of Marie-Laure we meet Werner and Jutta Pfennig, a brother and sister, both orphans who have been raised in the Children’s House outside Essen, in Germany. Through flashbacks we learn that Werner had been a curious and bright child who developed an obsession with radio transmitters and receivers, both in their infancies during this period. Eventually, Werner goes to a select technical school and then, at 18, into the Wehrmacht, where his technical aptitudes are recognized and he’s put on a team trying to track down illegal radio transmissions. Etienne and Marie-Laure are responsible for some of these transmissions, but Werner is intrigued since what she’s broadcasting is innocent—she shares her passion for Jules Verne by reading aloud 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A further subplot involves Marie-Laure’s father’s having hidden a valuable diamond, one being tracked down by Reinhold von Rumpel, a relentless German sergeant-major.

Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

Recent Interviews

Jason Gay


November 17, 2015
LITTLE VICTORIES by Jason Gay In the 1990s, copies of Richard Carlson’s Don't Sweat the Small Stuff (and its many sequels) were seemingly everywhere, giving readers either the confidence to prioritize their stresses or despondence over the slender volume’s not addressing their particular set of problems. While not the first book of its kind, it kicked open the door for an industry of self-help, worry-reduction advice guides. In his first book, Little Victories, Wall Street Journal sports columnist Gay takes less of a guru approach, though he has drawn an audience of readers appreciative of reportage that balances insights with a droll, self-deprecating outlook. He occasionally focuses his columns on “the Rules” (of Thanksgiving family touch football, the gym, the office holiday party, etc.), which started as a genial poke in the eye at the proliferation of self-help books and, over time, came to explore actual advice “both practical and ridiculous” and “neither perfect nor universal.” The author admirably combines those elements in every piece in the book. View video >

Rajiv Chandrasekaran


November 10, 2015
FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY by Howard Schultz In For Love of Country, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and National Book Award nominee Rajiv Chandrasekaran honor acts of uncommon valor in Iraq and Afghanistan, including an army sergeant who runs into a hail of gunfire to protect his comrades; two marines who chose to stand and defend their outpost from an oncoming truck bomb; and a 60-year-old doctor who joined the navy after his son was killed at war, saving dozens of lives during his service. We also see how veterans turn their leadership skills into community-building initiatives once they return home: former soldiers who aid residents in rebuilding after natural disasters; an infantry officer who trades in a Pentagon job to teach in an inner-city neighborhood; the spouse of a severely injured soldier assisting families in similar positions. These powerful, unforgettable stories demonstrate just how indebted we are to those who protect us and what they have to offer our nation when their military service is over. View video >

Upcoming Kirkus Interviews

December 8, 2015
Laura Lane and Angela Spera