A haunting and hopeful tale of discovering light in even the darkest of places.
For his whole life, the boy has lived underground, in a basement with his parents, grandmother, sister, and brother. Before he was born, his family was disfigured by a fire. His sister wears a white mask to cover her burns.
He spends his hours with his cactus, reading his book on insects, or touching the one ray of sunlight that filters in through a crack in the ceiling. Ever since his sister had a baby, everyone's been acting very strangely. The boy begins to wonder why they never say who the father is, about what happened before his own birth, about why they're shut away.
A few days ago, some fireflies arrived in the basement. His grandma said, There's no creature more amazing than one that can make its own light. That light makes the boy want to escape, to know the outside world. Problem is, all the doors are locked. And he doesn't know how to get out....
©2013 Paul Pen (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved. Translation © 2016 Simon Bruni.
This book is dark. I like dark and twisted, like Herman Koch and Chuck Palahniuk twisted, so I loved this book. Until the last word was spoken I didn't know how it would end. At the climax, I sat frozen for 45 minutes waiting to see what would happen. I was more invested in the characters than I even knew I was until the very end.
This book is sneaky that way. It's not just the actual story that is dark, but the writing is very stark in style, leaving you feeling empty somehow. For example, you never learn any of the characters' names. They are all referred to as how they relate to other members of the family (father, grandmother, the boy). Just that detail leaves you with a ominous, sad, trapped feeling. Paul Pen is an artist at evoking feelings as he draws you in to the story.
The narration was great in that I didn't notice Merriman at all. He faded into the background and let the story come through.
I wouldn't recommend this story to most of my friends and family. It will be loved though by those who want to be truly surprised and taken aback by a book, even if the surprises aren't pleasant.
I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!
The Light of the Fireflies is a truly twisted and very, very dark story. Spanish author Paul Pen has beautifully written a novel that will likely haunt me. The book is weird in that the listener never learns the name of any of the characters; there's the dead girl, her father, the grandfather, the grandmother, the father, the mother, the sister, the brother, the baby, and the boy. Most of the book is written in the first person of the 10 year old boy.
Although I rate the book 5 stars I cannot recommend it except for people who like very dark stories. I will never listen to it again! I just hope I can forget it!
I thought so until I got to the end of the book. Then I was left scratching my head.
Don't think so.
Great inflection, mystery, tension, tenderness, scorn, etc.
I thought so until I got to the end.
First thing that comes to mind is how the sins of the father are revisited on generation after generation! Talk about twisted! This family is the definition of selfishness, self-centeredness and dysfunction - only doing what soothes their needs and desires. Forget about doing what's right or best for someone else! The ending......try explaining why your family lives in a basement to the next generation and continuing to suck them into the darkness of this sick, twisted family unit.
The mystery of the story had me hooked and kept me listening.
It started off good but towards the end, it became more and more ridiculous and difficult to follow. The author seemed to have had a lot of trouble trying to figure out how to end the book.
This is so depressing.......dark and weird! I would rather read a much lighter book. I don't think it's bad...just to depressing for me.
just way more depressing and dark than I was expecting. it was well written but just not accurate to how it comes off in summary
The complexities of humanity and our relationships drives this excellent novel. At some point and for myriad reasons, we can all count ourselves as victims of family. The resulting pain is vast; it can be generational. That's what Mr. Pen has shown in this searing, awesome book. Read it!
While this novel is a rather uncomfortable read, I also found it beautiful in a way. It is told from the perspective of a 10 year old boy who has spent his entire life living in a basement with his family. The entire book kept me wondering what was true and what was created in a little boy's imagination.
I almost give up on this book. I took me forever to get to the first half, but when I got to the second part. It was pretty cool!! I couldn't stop reading, I had butterflies in my stomach and my hearth was pounding.
loved it!!! different from my usual type of listening but really really good!! on a hunt for more of this type now...
What a book. It had me riveted from start to finish!
Makes me wonder what I would do help family, and how I would cope if family put me in the situation.
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