107 pages 3 hours read

Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2014

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Part 12, Chapters 168-177

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 12: “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.

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By Anthony Doerr