The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen

This post will be split into two parts, a review and an analysis.  The review part will be spoiler free where the analysis will give major plot points of the story away in examination.  In this way people who just wish to read a review of the novel can do so without being spoiled.  Please also not that this is the ONLY warning I will put in for spoilers so be advised for them in the “Analysis” section.

Title: The Light of the Fireflies
Author:
Paul Pen
Translator: Simon Bruni
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Horror

Light of the Fireflies, ThePages: 338
Publication Date: 
May, 9 2013
Media Type: Kindle


Review


“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.…”

Whenever I read or watch something that was translated into English, I try to remember to take that into account.  Language is not only a difference in words; it is a difference in thought and culture.  This book was not organized in the same way as one written in English generally would be.  In the middle (and you can see this from the table of contents so it’s not a spoiler) the reason for the family’s interment is revealed.  This threw me off a bit.  Since I now know these reasons, it removed a lot of the surprise from the rest of the novel so I spent that hoping for the proper judgment to come.

Upon completion I couldn’t figure out what bothered me about this tale.  It was haunting and compelling with words well woven to pull you in, but the end leaves much to be desired.  There is a dissatisfaction in the finale that soured the story for me.  There are also passages of odd description that I’m chalking up to the translation, but my real condemnation is in what the story condones.  It attempts to force the reader to sympathize with the wrong people, causing a disconnect.  This, too, may be due to language/cultural differences, but there are universal standards of decency that I feel Fireflies missed.

It is still spellbinding and well worth the read, which should be quick at only 338 pages, but it is a disturbing tale of lies, manipulation, cover ups, and incest, nor is the ending satisfactory for what the author presents.

Rating: 3 stars

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The State of the Writer: 5/14/16

<–The State of the Writer: 5/7/16          The State of the Writer: 5/21/16–>

A weekly post updated every Saturday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include any and all work(s) in progress (WIP) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, or reviews of any type.

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Previous Word Count: 245,356
Current Word Count: 250,755
Words Written This Week: 5399
Status: WIP

Beach mansion/estate inspiration

Beach mansion/estate inspiration

The above picture is one of many I use to visual where they live.  It’s similar to their home in Northern Lights (or will be when I do some rewording on that.  Yup, another project planned), and it has an appropriate name.  I’m a lover of luxury, and there’s a lot in this tale.  It gives me an excuse to look up fancy mansions and elegant clothes and jewelry.  Things I can’t afford, but am still free to describe.

I wrote an integral scene this week as I dutifully plug along towards the end.  I’ve been having computer issues, well, rather OS issues.  Like many others I was forced to upgrade to Windows 10, and it has been wreaking havoc with my Microsoft Word.  The program will get “hung up.”  It’s not stalled per the task manager, but it’s unresponsive.  I can’t click anywhere; I can’t save, and often prior to this state, it scrolls all the way to the top so I can’t even take a picture of my work with my phone (which I was able to do before.  It’s as though the issue is purposely trying to thwart me).  The last time it took me an hour and a half to fix it; the time before was three hours, and I had to utilize live chat with someone from Microsoft.  I expressed my annoyance/frustration with the situation, and they suggested I install new Office.  Of course…

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The State of the Reader: 5/11/16

<–The State of the Reader: 5/4/16          The State of the Reader: 5/18/16–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Currently Reading: 5

Change from Last Week: -1


Title: Windhaven
Authors: George R R Martin and Lisa Tuttle

WindhavenMedium: Paperback
Progress: 28%

Title: Paradise Lost
Author
: John Milton

Paradise LostMedium: Paperback
Progress:
65%

Title: Taggerung
Author: Brian Jacques

TaggerungMedium: Paperback
Progress: 60%

I’m on the third and final part of this reread.  I’ll probably be finished before the end of the week.

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The State of the Reader: 5/4/16

The State of the Reader: 5/11/16–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Currently Reading: 6

Change from Last Week: +1


Title: The Light of the Fireflies
Author:
Paul Pen
Translator: Simon Bruni

Light of the Fireflies, TheMedium: Kindle
Progress: 13%

This is the newest edition to my reading repertoire and why my count has risen to six.  My BFF texted me about this book with a comment about how she believed she’d finally found her reading niche in “creepy as fuck.”  I looked it up and was instantly intrigued by the “what’s really going on” paradigm.  I love a good mystery and an eerie, potentially human experiment centered one always lifts my ears.  There are no names given to add to the almost inhuman and definitely inhumane atmosphere of this tale concerning a family locked away and/or hidden underground.  Besides “the boy” whom we follow as the protagonist, his other family members have been severely burned by an unknown cause.  When his sister gives birth, everyone begins acting strangely (especially considering there are only two possible fathers…her own and her and the boy’s older brother *shudders*), and the boy clings to the hope brought by fireflies that wander into their basement making him want to escape to find more of that light.

The chapters are fairly short, and I breeze through about three every night.  I’ve even taking time out from working on The Broken Rose to read this.  It is extremely hard to put down and is only around 340 pages.

Title: Windhaven
Authors: George R R Martin and Lisa Tuttle

WindhavenMedium: Paperback
Progress: 28%

I’ll be honest; I haven’t picked up this book in a while.  It started out really strong with such high stakes, but once I got to the middle portion titled “One-Wing” (which you’d think would completely capture my attention), my interest fell off.  The potential loses won’t be nearly as devastating to our protagonist Maris, and the conflict is more of a rivalry than anything else.  I do intend to finish it, but (like most things and my eternal excuse) writing has taken more of a priority than reading.

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