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Publisher's Summary

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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Marci on 04-11-16


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.

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64 of 70 people found this review helpful

By Wayne on 04-27-16

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!

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78 of 90 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Karen on 06-11-17

kept me guessing...

...right to the end. fabulously acted voices were excellent. would highly recommend foe something different.

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By Julie on 03-08-17

Wonderful. A real treat

Enjoyed every minute of this book.

( if you liked the book 'Room' this is definitely one for you.)

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