Written by Ben Byrne
Publication Date October 19, 2013
A vivid and powerful novel set in post-WWII Japan, Fireflies chronicles the lives of four interweaving characters navigating the war-torn streets of Tokyo during the American occupation.
August 1945. Japan has been defeated in the Second World War. The country lies in ruins.
Satsuko Takara and her teenage brother, Hiroshi, have lost their parents, and each other, during the firestorm that devastated Tokyo five months before. Hal Lynch, a haunted US reconnaissance photographer, has now become a photojournalist in Japan, where he stumbles upon a shocking story, concealed in the aftermath of war, and is determined to bring it to light. And Osamu Maruki, a dissolute writer, and once Satsuko’s beloved, has returned from the South Pacific a broken and changed man.
As these characters’ stories spin out and converge, the war-torn streets of Tokyo come alive in this dazzlingly observed novel. Cinematic, brutal, yet beautiful, Fireflies powerfully portrays the shock, the struggles, and the choices that arise from the destruction of war.
Ben Byrne was born in 1977 and studied Drama at the University of Manchester. He later lived in San Francisco, New York, and Tokyo where he worked as a consultant, ethnographic film-maker and musician. He returned to England to dedicate himself more fully to writing, and his short fiction has appeared in Litro magazine. Fireflies is his first novel. He lives in London.