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.
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!
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.
Well written and skillfully maneuvered. The imagery was good. Only criticism was the story seemed to break pace at the end and it felt rushed. I wished the author could have restrained himself and kept the craftiness until the end. I would recommend this book!
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
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.
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.
Despite the sometimes irritatingly monotone narration, I could not stop listening to this book until the very end. The writer has you hooked without giving away the end from the very beginning.
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!
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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