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.


KIRKUS REVIEW

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

Morgan Matson

author of THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING

July 25, 2016
THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING by Morgan Matson The Unexpected Everything is a YA feel-good story of friendship, finding yourself, and all the joys in life that happen while you’re busy making other plans. Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan. Future? A top-tier medical school. Dad? Avoid him as much as possible (which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and he’s never around). Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby—pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else? Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks. So it’s no surprise that Andie’s got her summer all planned out too. Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship, and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all. “Romance fans will find plenty to enjoy, as Andie gradually lets down her guard and risks the messy and unpredictable wonder of first love,” our reviewer writes. “A novel best read on a lazy summer day with sand between the toes.” View video >

Nancy Isenberg

author of WHITE TRASH

July 19, 2016
WHITE TRASH by Nancy Isenberg Poor Americans have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement. They were alternately known as “waste people,” “offals,” “rubbish,” “lazy lubbers,” and “crackers.” By the 1850s, the downtrodden included so-called “clay eaters” and “sandhillers,” known for prematurely aged children distinguished by their yellowish skin, ragged clothing, and listless minds. Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over 400 years, in White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, Nancy Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. “A riveting thesis supported by staggering research,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >

Upcoming Kirkus Interviews

August 2, 2016
Jeffrey Toobin
August 9, 2016
Rae Meadows
September 6, 2016
Amor Towles