The Light of the Fireflies – Paul Pen

There’s no creature more amazing than one that can make its own light.

28802599The boy has lived in the basement his whole life. His family were all disfigured in a fire, his sister wears a mask to cover her hideous face, and they can never go into the world outside. But the boy doesn’t know why.

Beautifully written and very mysterious, The Light of the Fireflies is translated from Spanish (although you wouldn’t know it – the English flows perfectly). The haunting story of a young boy living in a basement with his family, slowly untying their lies with his growing curiosity about the world above.

What’s wrong with the boy’s brother? Who is the father of his sister’s baby? What’s really behind her mask? Who is the cricket man? There are so many layers to this story, and so many possible reasons for the strange things that go on in the basement. Names are never given for any of the characters, and in this book that really works. Some of the content is pretty unpleasant, but not graphic at all which makes it bearable and all the more intriguing. Everything comes together as secrets are revealed, with a poignant and moving climax.

Those unwilling to look beyond their own little world will be left in the dark.

If I gave star ratings, this would get them all.

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