Short Stories 366:73 — “The Lighthouse Keeper,” by Daisy Johnson

coverI’ve always loved stories about outsiders, and especially those who see or feel or understand the world in some way others don’t. With “The Lighthouse Keeper,” Daisy Johnson walks a fine line with her main character in this regard: read one way, she is exactly the character I just described, a woman who has had an encounter with a fish, but not just any fish, a fish that’s somehow different and perhaps even fated to have encountered her.

Read another way, the woman is just very lonely and isolated and doing a job that the people in the town feel isn’t right for her (as a woman) and she is projecting what could almost be a delusion out into the world.

It really could go either way, but my tendency is to read it as the former, and as the former the story takes on a whiff of magic. The townsfolk already regard the woman as strange—after all, a woman working a lighthouse?—but the fallout of a single moment threatens everything, and she has to decide what she’ll do to protect something as unique as herself.

I found his story through LeVar Burton Reads.

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