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.
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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.
"Worst parenting ever! Book NOT recommended!"
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!
"Still trying to put into words!"
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.
"Disturbing but very good"
Very captivating story. Kind of bummed at what happened at the end. Don't want to give a spoiler.
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.
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.
"WAY darker than advertised."
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
"Who Really Is The Monster?"
This book was definitely dark and twisty. Right from the beginning, you the "something in this milk ain't clean" vibe. The story followed a boy in his extremely sheltered and sad life, that, unbeknownst to him, thought was great. There are many secrets kept from him and a lot of unexplained scenarios. This books follows a 'coming of age' story in the most minimalist of terms at a moderate to slow pace.
One aspect that I liked about the story is that the "villain" is not cut and dry from the beginning of the book. Don't get me wrong, a lot of the characters make a lot of mistakes, but the writer takes you on a journey, where my "blame of the situation" varied between the characters at different times in the book.
The narrator did a great job. I enjoyed his work and the emotion he put in the various characters and situations. I thoroughly enjoyed Scott's work and look forward to future novels read by him.
I would recommend this book. Although I felt a few parts were too long, it still kept me interested.
"Just keep reading...."
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.
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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