I’m not entirely sure if “Fireflies” by Yoko Ota is fictional or non-fictional or some combination of the two, but honestly it doesn’t really matter. For fiction can speak truths every bit as meaningful as non-fiction. The quiet power of this story is astounding. In fact, I think the same can be said of all three of these stories. The other two being “The Colorless Paintings” by Ineko Sata and “The Empty Can” by Kyoko Hayashi. Each one of these stories in its own way shows us the horror that pervaded ordinary people’s lives long after the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan. While I haven’t yet read the entire anthology, The Crazy Iris and Other Stories of the Atomic Aftermath, I believe that these three stories at least should be essential reading for everyone. A reminder of the overwhelming but often ignored consequences of human decisions. You know, seriously, how is it that we can so easily forget?!!