Marie-Laure is a young blind girl, living with her father in Paris, 1940. Her father is the keeper of the keys at the Natural History Museum, and he builds her a miniature replica of their neighborhood, so that she might memorize the details and learn her way around. When the Germans invade Paris, Marie-Laure and her father flee Paris, for the coastal town of Saint-Malo, where they live with his brother Etienne in their childhood home.
Werner is a young orphan, living in an orphanage with his sister, other children, and their care keeper, a woman who speaks French and tells them stories of France. Werner and his sister discover an old radio, on which they listen enraptured to a French scientist describing the wonders of the world. Werner discovers he has a gift for putting together and repairing radios, a skill that takes him out of his coal mining town and frees him from a life underground.
Nazi fervor sweeps through Germany, and carries Werner along with it, though he is less interested in the goals of the Nazis than he is in his radios and his job of finding illegal transmissions. Along the way, he comes to question his own bravery and morals.
Marie-Laure finds a small role in the French resistance, carrying messages and wishing that she could be reunited with her father, who was arrested and taken away soon after their arrival in Saint-Malo, though not before he has time to build her a miniature replica of the city, so she can once again find her way outside of her door and through the streets.
All the Light We Cannot See travels between Marie-Laure and Werner, travels backwards and forwards in time, and lyrically spins a tale that is lovely, horrid, and suspenseful. I liked this story quite a bit, and I highly recommend it.