cover image All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr, read by Zach Appelman. Simon & Schuster Audio, , unabridged, 13 CDs, 16 hrs., $39.99 ISBN 978-1-4423-7542-0

Broadway actor Appelman delivers a moving performance in the audio edition of Doerr’s beautiful WWII novel. The story shifts back and forth in time, and alternates between the perspectives of two protagonists, Marie-Laure—a blind French girl whose locksmith father builds models of the city to help her adapt to her surroundings—and Werner Pfennig, a German orphan who is separated from his sister, Jutta, when he’s called to work for the Nazis as an engineer. The stories are both involving in their own right, as we track how the peaceful lives of a father/daughter and brother/sister are slowly disrupted by the rise of the Nazis. Reader Appelman helps convey the emotional tension of each scene with dialogue that is devastatingly moving, and his portrayal of Marie-Laure’s uncle, Etienne, is particularly effective. All and all, Appelman turns in a dramatic and well-paced performance of Doerr’s richly conveyed and heartbreaking period piece. A Scribner hardcover. (May)