Vol.60 Issue 02
Cover of TLR's "Physics" issue



The chief danger about a conviction is the temptation to deny it.
–Muriel Spark


Justin Taylor

Editor’s Letter

Here is a gallery of dreams and pictures, fictions, though some sit more easily in the genre than others—genre-fealty having been the absolute least of our concerns when we gathered them…read the full letter here


Carolyn Kuebler

Kindergarteners are lousy at deception, and this is one reason Joanna loves them. There’s a kind of purity even to their cruelty. They are mean and they are afraid and they are just learning to pretend not to be…

Benjamin Corbett
Boys; Doors

A light had been left on at a house across the street, so I walked toward it.  Welcome home, the light said…

Nadezhda Belenkaya, RUSSIA
Chekhov, Sex Symbol of the Flying Dutchwomen
Translated by Andrea Gregovich

I’d walked around pregnant all summer. The sun toasted the city until it had a dry, dusty crust, and I hid like an injured toad in the humid shade of the apartment buildings…

Christopher Evans
Aunts and Uncles

The news of my aunt and uncle’s divorce hardly came as a surprise. I’d run into my uncle once, downtown, and had been too quick to admit I was doing nothing, so he’d shepherded me onto the patio of a chain restaurant for a cheap pint…

Ariel Lewis
Emilys We’ve Known

Of the Emilys we’ve known you are the prettiest. You have the longest hair and the brightest face, the smallest face, the smallest face and the brightest; the longest the full story here

Jerry Sticker
Lonely Men of the Dead End

It was as if she told them instead of me she was coming. They slithered out of dark hole-like doorways to watch her pull up into the driveway unannounced and freshly flunked out of state college…

Betina González, ARGENTINA
Love Is a Natural Disaster
Translated by Heather Cleary

They say there is an hour when the people of this town lose their minds…

John William McConnell
Snack Country

New Year’s Eve, 1999: so you’re waiting on midnight at your uncle’s house, entrenched on a three-legged stool by the kitchen island: SNACK COUNTRY

Ellen Umansky

Soutine’s hunger was so strong and palpable it was as if another person were walking along the sidewalk with him, garrulous and insistent, a far more persuasive conversationalist than he…

Adam Boretz
Our Selfsame Bodies

On the morning of our death, I wake before dawn. Lying under tangled sheets of our shared bed, I snap the cool blade of the jackknife open, shut, open, shut as the sky blues with the rising sun…

Martha Witt
#1: Canis Meus Non Me Amat
#2: Animals That Hurt

My dog does not love me. Canis meus non me amat. This is not the kind of complaint that one can rightfully expect another to tolerate…read the full story here

Alec Niedenthal
The Activist

“How can we sit here while everything disintegrates?” he muttered, half to himself and half to the other Bug Abolisher, Jude, with whom he shared a corner…

Drew Johnson
A Banal Story

Mary told her husband, Miklos, that she liked to shut her eyes whenever their Acura entered either of the tunnels on 95 near Baltimore. And then to open her eyes so that the light on the tiles unspooled before her—the unnatural in the natural…

Robin Sarkin

My mother wants to be a mother when she grows up. I’m ten when she tells me this and five years later she gets a bump and bumps me out…read the full story here 

Barbara Schrefer
The Sea Change

Little naggings started. All the what ifs. What if I lose my job, what if I get sick. What if I grow old and nobody wants to marry me and I end up a bag lady in Central Park…

Bipin Aurora
Kripa Goyal

Enemy Property. What it all meant—what it could possibly mean—no one could say. But so it was…

Anika Jade
American Mouth

I tell Evan I’m going to die a virgin. We’re lying at opposite ends of his bed—clothes off, television on. The weather outside is horizontal sleet…

Craig Curtis

In the red and graven leaves of autumn they came out. The twentieth year. Not one of them had watches, the telling of time. Yet they knew…

Robin Wasserman
The Has-Beens

A life of celibacy, Josh concludes, as he often does once entangled by the protocols of non-salaried sexual contact, might not be so bad…

JoAnna Novak
Her Replacements

While she toured Paris, her husband and son took care of the dogs, monstrous Geraldine and dying Beautiful Helen. The men administered Beautiful Helen’s shots and bathed her in steroid soak and toweled her raw, pink body…

Kyūsaku Yumeno, JAPAN
Translated by Sacha Idell

Each of the windows is tightly shut, and all of the rooms are completely dark. A thin crescent moon, trapped in a far corner, slowly sinks away…

Eli Todd
The Library

I work in the public library destroying books. For six hours a day, I stand in the basement over two trash cans, or trash barrels, really, given their size… read the full story here 

Mathias Svalina
Every Sunday Everyone in America Dreams the Same Dream

Kittens keep getting into your house. You haven’t left any doors or windows open & there are no visible holes or cracks, but each morning you wake to more kittens mewling & tumbling with bits of string…



Bipin Aurora has worked as an economist, an energy analyst, and a systems analyst. A collection of his stories, Notes of a Mediocre Man: Stories of India and America, was recently published by Guernica Editions (Canada). Individual stories have appeared in Glimmer Train, Michigan Quarterly Review, Southwest Review, Witness, Grain, and numerous other publications, and are forthcoming in The Fiddlehead and Boulevard.

A native of Moscow, Nadezhda Belenkaya has written many short stories and has also translated a number of Spanish works into Russian. Wake in Winter, her first novel and first work available in English translation, explores the big money underworld of black-market Russian adoptions.

Adam Boretz is a writer living in New York. He works as an editor at Publishers Weekly and The Millions. His fiction has appeared in Fawlt and Encyclopedia.

Heather Cleary’s translations include César Rendueles’ Sociophobia, Sergio Chejfec’s The Planets (finalist, BTBA 2013) and The Dark (nominee, National Translation Award 2014), and a selection of Oliverio Girondo’s poetry for New Directions. She was a judge for the BTBA and the PEN Translation Award, and is a founding member of the Cedilla & Co. translation collective and a founding editor of the digital, bilingual Buenos Aires Review. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.

Benjamin Corbett has published stories in Epoch.

Craig Curtis has published widely over the last several decades, including three other appearances in The Literary Review. His work has appeared in the New England Review, The Iowa Review, Confrontation, The Harvard Review, Cream City Review, Chicago Review, and Carolina Quarterly, among others.

Christopher Evans is a writer and editor from Vancouver, Canada. His fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have appeared in The New Quarterly, Isthmus, Grain, Going Down Swinging, The Moth, Joyland, and other fine publications.

Betina González is an Argentine writer. She teaches creative writing at the University of Buenos Aires, and is a professor of great world texts at New York University Buenos Aires. In 2006 she was awarded the Clarín Prize for Arte menor, her first book. In 2012, her second novel, Las poseídas, received the Tusquets Prize and gave her international recognition. Her last novel, América alucinada, was praised by the critics as “an intense and disquieting narrative about contemporary USA.”

Andrea Gregovich’s translation of Nadezhda Belenkaya’s novel Wake in Winter was published in 2016. She has also translated Russian short stories and essays for numerous journals and anthologies including AGNI, Tin House, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Guernica, and Best European Fiction, as well as the novel USSR by Vladimir Kozlov.

Sacha Idell is a writer and translator from Northern California. His fiction appears or is forthcoming in Ploughshares, Electric Literature, the Chicago Tribune, and elsewhere. He is fiction editor of The Arkansas International and an MFA candidate at the University of Arkansas, where he is a Walton Fellow.

Anika Jade is a fiction writer and a poet. Her fiction has appeared in Agriculture Reader and her first book of poems, Standard Written English, is forthcoming from Txtbooks this summer. She lives in Brooklyn.

Drew Johnson was raised in Mississippi and lives in Massachusetts. His fiction has appeared in Harper’s, Virginia Quarterly Review, New England Review, The Texas Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, and elsewhere. His nonfiction has appeared at Literary Hub, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Paris Review Daily, and elsewhere. The Cupboard brought out his 7 Greyhounds as one of their single-issue chapbooks.

Carolyn Kuebler lives in Vermont and is the editor of the New England Review. She has published fiction and reviews in various magazines, including The Common, Copper Nickel, and Rain Taxi.

A California native, Ariel Lewis currently lives in Miami, Florida, where she works as an English and creative writing teacher. Her short prose has appeared or is forthcoming in Wildness, Flock, Klipspringer Magazine, and Green Briar Review. She was awarded a scholarship from the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley.

John William McConnell lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife and kids. His work has appeared in the Cincinnati Review, the New Orleans Review, Post Road Magazine, and elsewhere. Although he used to insist on being described as six-foot, two-and-a-half inches tall, he is now content to be described as merely six-foot, two.

Alec Niedenthal has published fiction in The Toast, Agriculture Reader, The Brooklyn Rail, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and other venues. He is working on a novel called Demons, which is about a right-wing terrorist group in contemporary Alabama.

JoAnna Novak is the author of I Must Have You and the forthcoming Noirmania. She has written fiction, essays, poetry, and criticism for publications including Salon, Guernica, BOMB, The Rumpus, Conjunctions, and Joyland. A founding editor of the journal and chapbook press Tammy, she lives in Los Angeles.

Robin Sarkin grew up in Rockport, Massachusetts. She is an MFA fiction candidate at the University of Virginia and received the university’s 2017 Balch Prize for best short story. This is her first publication.

Barbara Schrefer is a transplanted English woman now living in Clearwater, Florida. She received the Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in Fiction, and won first prize in the Florida State Writing Competition’s novel category.

Jerry Sticker is a writer and filmmaker living in Brooklyn. He recently finished a novel called The Song of Nell Zane. He’s currently working on more short stories along with a new novel. He’s also writing a screenplay adapted from a Balzac novel.

Mathias Svalina is the the author of five books, including Destruction Myth, Wastoid, and the recently released The Wine-Dark Sea. He is an editor for the small press Octopus Books. Since 2014 Svalina has run the Dream Delivery Service and ran a similar project for the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver in 2015. In the fall of 2016 through the summer of 2017 he will be delivering dreams in other cities, including Richmond, Tucson, Marfa, Austin, and Chicago.

Eli Todd died at the age of 23 in October 2016 in Brooklyn, where he lived and worked. He graduated with honors from the creative writing program at Pratt Institute in 2015 and was the recipient of that year’s fiction prize. He taught and worked at Young Writers Workshop, a residential program for high school students run by the University of Virginia. In Eli’s own bio for this journal in 2016, he wrote that he was “interested in ghosts, accents, and weather patterns, especially in relation to his native New England . . . [and was] working on a collection of short stories involving those things.”

Ellen Umansky is the author of the novel The Fortunate Ones, about two women and the Soutine painting stolen from them both. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in numerous publications including Slate, The New York Times, Tablet, and the short-story anthology Lost Tribe.

Robin Wasserman is the author of the novel Girls on Fire. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Tin House, VQR, and The Los Angeles Review of Books, and she is also the bestselling author of several books for children and young adults. She teaches at the Mountainview Low-Residency MFA program.

Martha Witt is the author of the novel Broken As Things Are. Her book translations, in collaboration with Mary Ann Frese Witt, include Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author as well as Henry IV and The License. She is currently an associate professor of English and creative writing at William Paterson University.

Kyūsaku Yumeno (1888–1936), which translates to “a field where dreams are always growing,” was the pen name of the Japanese writer Taido Sugiyama. He is widely celebrated in Japan as one of the first major Japanese avant-garde writers and is famous in particular for his uses of Western imagery and unusual detective stories. His magnum opus, the experimental novel Dogra Magra, was adapted to film in the late 1980s. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1936.