All The Broken Places

When is a monster’s child culpable? Guilt and complicity are multifaceted. John Boyne is a maestro of historical fiction. You can’t prepare yourself for the magnitude and emotional impact of this powerful novel.”

– John Irving

“Exceptional, layered and compelling…This book moves like a freight train, with force and consequence for the reader.”

– Amy Bloom

A stark confrontation of evil, an examination of guilt and deflection. Boyne treads the finest of narrative lines with skill and grace and proves himself yet again to be among the world’s greatest storytellers.

– Donal Ryan

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All The Broken Places


Ninety-one-year-old Gretel Fernsby has lived in the same mansion block in London for decades. She leads a comfortable, quiet life, despite her dark and disturbing past. She doesn’t talk about her escape from Germany over seventy years before. She doesn’t talk about the post-war years in France with her mother. Most of all, she doesn’t talk about her father, the commandant of one of the most notorious Nazi concentration camps.

Then, a young family moves into the apartment below her. In spite of herself, Gretel can’t help but begin a friendship with the little boy, Henry, though his presence brings back memories she would rather forget. One night, she witnesses a violent argument between Henry’s mother and his domineering father, one that threatens Gretel’s hard-won, self-contained existence.

Gretel is faced with a chance to expiate her guilt, grief and remorse and act to save a young boy – for the second time in her life. But to do so, she will be forced to reveal her true identity to the world. Will she make a different choice this time, whatever the cost to herself?

All the Broken Places is a devastating, beautiful story about a woman who must confront the sins of her past and a present in which it is never too late for bravery.

Readers and Book Groups may be interested in this discussion guide about ALL THE BROKEN PLACES, which can help to shape conversation about the novel.

  • UK: Doubleday
  • USA: Pamela Dorman/Viking
  • Brazil: Companhia das Letras
  • Canada: Doubleday Canada
  • Catalan: Grup 62
  • Czechia: Slovart
  • Finland: Bazar
  • Germany: Piper
  • Greece: Psichogios
  • Holland: Meulenhoff
  • Italy: RCS Rizzoli
  • Norway: Cappelen Damm
  • Portugal: Porto
  • Romania: Editura RAO
  • Slovakia: Slovart
  • Spain: Salamanda
  • Sweden: Norstedt
  • Taiwan: Crown
  • Turkey: Tudem
  • Azerbaijan: Qanun
  • Bulgaria: Labyrinth
  • China: South Booky
  • France: JC Lattès
  • Hungary: Maxim
  • Lithuania: Sofoklis
  • Macedonia: Sakam Knjigi
  • Poland: Replika
  • Serbia: Vulcan
  • Sri Lanka: Sarasavi
  • Thailand: Amarin
  • Ukraine: Old Lion Publishing
  • Vietnam: Nha Nam