Things That Don’t Keep a Lightning Bug Alive

A Story

by Brenden Willey
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Beautiful, beautiful. This story will stay with me.

This is the best, and most beautiful, short story I've read in years. It's also the most authentic capturing of a (very original) child's voice I've read in a long time. And that's one good, wise father. Thank you, Brenden Willey.

The authenticity of the child's voice is remarkable, made all the more charming by the dialect and the convoluted syntax of this particular boy's thought process. This could have been precious, but it's just the opposite. The use of lightning bugs, how the boy treats them, their behavior in and out of captivity, the father's response to the boy's actions--this metaphor generates so much subtext. And the element of mystery that's thrown in--captivating. I love this story!

I read this story when it was published a couple years ago, and it has stayed with me. I still think about it quite a bit. It’s just a really effing good story.