All the Light We Cannot See Part Twelve: Chapters 168–177 Summary & Analysis

Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See

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All the Light We Cannot See Part Twelve: Chapters 168–177 Summary & Analysis

Part Twelve: 1974

Chapter 168 Summary: Volkheimer

Frank Volkheimer, age 51, lives in the outskirts of a city in West Germany, where he works installing and repairing television antennas. He lives alone; he has never married or had children.

A package arrives for him containing three photographs: a soldier’s canvas knapsack, a child’s notebook with the initials W.P. in the corner, and a small wooden house. The authorities hope that Volkheimer can help them identify these belongings so that they can be returned to the soldier’s family. Volkheimer immediately knows whose belongings these are.

Chapter 169 Summary: Jutta

Jutta Wette, now married with a 6-year-old son named Max, teaches high-school algebra. Her husband, Albert, is kind and patient, with a passion for running his electric train set in the basement.

Volkheimer arrives to return Werner’s belongings to Jutta. She never allows herself to think about the war, particularly the end of the war, nor about Werner. She does not believe that anything can be healed. Volkheimer explains that he was with Werner in school and in the field and that the last place they were together was in Saint-Malo, France.

Volkheimer is kind to Max and teaches him how to make a paper airplane that flies.

Chapter 170 Summary: Duffel

Jutta cannot bear to look in the duffel, but eventually that night, after Max is in bed and Volkheimer has gone, she does. She finds the notebook that she sent to Werner, filled with plans for inventions and questions he longs to answer. Inside the notebook, she also finds a letter addressed to Frederick. She remembers Frederick was Werner’s friend from school.

Chapter 171 Summary: Saint-Malo

Jutta takes Max to Saint-Malo during their summer vacation. Though Jutta is afraid that people will be mean to her in France, because she is German, no one says anything to her about her accent or about Max speaking German.

They arrive in Saint-Malo and go to the sea. They visit all the tourist attractions. Eventually, Jutta takes the model house to one of the curators of the war museum. He takes her right to the front door of Number 4 rue Vauborel. He tells…

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