Book review: The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen

The Light of the FirefliesThe Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I characterized this novel as Room, sort of, but with an entire family unit. To paraphrase the Goodreads synopsis, an unnamed boy lives underground with his parents and sister. They are not allowed to go outside above ground. Ever. The boy is threatened with being attacked by “a monster” if he ever even expresses an interest in leaving.

As the novel progresses, the reader begins to understand the circumstances that led to this situation, and realizes that all is not as it appears; sympathies shift; perspectives change; and the ending, while not exactly unexpected, is more grim than necessary. Family loyalty is one thing. Living one’s own life is entirely another.

Neither poorly written nor poorly translated (as far as I can tell), but two stars because I hated the ending.

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