All the Light We Cannot See Part Zero: Chapters 1–8 Summary & Analysis

Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See

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All the Light We Cannot See Part Zero: Chapters 1–8 Summary & Analysis

Part Zero: 7 August 1944

Chapter 1 Summary: Leaflets

Leaflets fall from the sky, warning inhabitants to depart the city immediately for open country.

Chapter 2 Summary: Bombers

American bombers arrive from across the sea, approaching a walled city on the coast.

Chapter 3 Summary: The Girl

A sightless, 16-year-old girl named Marie-Laure LeBlanc kneels in her room in the house at Number 4 rue Vauborel. She has filled two buckets with water, along with the bathtub. She explores a miniature of the city by touch. The drone of airplanes grows louder.

Chapter 4 Summary: The Boy

A young German boy, Werner, heads for the basement in the Hotel of Bees, as a German Luftwaffe anti-aircraft gun is fired from a balcony of the hotel.

Chapter 5 Summary: Saint-Malo

This ancient walled town is one of the last remaining French towns in German hands; half of Western France is free. Only a few stubborn inhabitants remain, along with the Germans trying to hold onto the city. All citizens head for shelter.

Chapter 6 Summary: Number 4 rue Vauborel

Marie-Laure knows that she should head for the basement shelter, but instead she finds the model of the house she has been living in for the last four years. She opens the house, which is also a puzzle box, and a stone drops into her hand.

Chapter 7 Summary: Cellar

Werner Pfennig tunes his radio transceiver in the basement. The corner of the basement is reinforced. The staff sergeant, Frank Volkheimer, and the engineer, Walter Bernd, join him. Werner realizes that he forgot to bring any water downstairs with him. The radio reminds Werner of his sister, Jutta.

Chapter 8 Summary: Bombs Away

The twelve American bombers release their loads: 480 bombs drop into the city. Etienne LeBlanc watches the bombs from the prison at Fort National; to him they look like a swarm of locusts, a Biblical plague. The bombers fly away unharmed. Marie-Laure hides underneath her bed on the sixth floor of the tall, skinny house. The light goes out in the cellar of the Hotel of Bees. A roaring blast hits the city.

Part Zero: Chapter 1 – 8 Analysis

These chapters introduce the main…

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