“Hold Your Breath Until the Future Comes” published in The Bare Life Review

I’m very happy to have a longer story of mine published in the new issue of The Bare Life Review, a magazine for immigrant and refugee writers. Issue number 4 (they are published annually) has a particular focus on climate change. I’m deeply grateful to Maria Kuznetsova for her insightful edits that helped this story to become more dynamic.

The buzzer rings. The baby must’ve felt the quake in my body. He loses the nipple and screams. I’d passed out for a few minutes, but I’m certainly awake now, and I too want to scream. Did the baby’s diaper leak on my stomach just now, or is it sweat and breastmilk pooling between us?


The air ventilation system broke in my building a few days ago. It’s June in Brooklyn, and the heat is unbearable. I nursed Anton on the couch in the living room, and my breasts are covered in liquid. He’s tired, unhappy. It feels like the two of us are bearing the brunt of the global warming, and there’s nowhere to run.

The buzzer rings again.

https://barelifereview.square.site/product/tblr-vol-4/1?cp=true&sa=true&sbp=false&q=false

The Bare Life Review is a gorgeous print publication. To continue reading, please buy the mag!

I Give Up in Mumber Mag

My flash “I Give Up” is now available in the second issue of Mumber Mag! I’m grateful to the editor Harry Leeds for his thoughtful comments on this piece, helping to make it less wordy and amplifying the sense of movement and breathlessness with which its overwhelmed speaker addresses the world.

The next crayon hit him right between the eyes. The next two hit the windshield and the car swerved, coming dangerously close to a refrigerator truck. My husband screamed.

In response, the two-year old started screaming.

https://www.mumbermag.me/2020/12/28/i-give-up/

The Mumber Two (OMG that title) is a delightful issue all around, worth reading cover-to-cover!

No Horse Required published in CALYX

So proud to have a story in the current issue of CALYX. I wrote the first draft of “No Horse Required” in August 2008, that’s 12 years ago! Two years ago, the editors of this magazine requested edits, and one year ago, they accepted it for publication. A version of this story appeared in my 2010 Russian-language collection. For context, the story opens in 1992, and altogether it’s been quite a journey!

When I was thirteen years old, I yearned for a passionate and committed friendship modeled after the books I was reading. Never mind that I was a girl and that, in these books, friendship was reserved for a particular relationship between boys and men. These books were standard fodder for earnest Soviet children, complemented by selections from the international library: The Three Musketeers, Ivanhoe, The Pathfinder. I searched for blood friends, for true soul mates among my classmates, but the boys preferred computer games and the girls wanted to watch American movies.

https://www.calyxpress.org/shop/vol-321/

The issues are available on sale through the mag’s website. I have a few copies, DM me if you want one.

An interview on The Other Stories podcast

A week ago, I had a chance to talk to Ilana Masad, a writer and a podcast host at The Other Stories. She asked me to read two stories from my forthcoming collection, LIKE WATER AND OTHER STORIES, and then we talked about the stories, the book, and a bit about my coming to writing.

“We Were Geniuses,” one of the two stories from the podcast, is an older story and had been first published in The Provo Canyon Review, a beautiful online journal started by my Narrative Magazine colleague Chris McClelland–Chris moved on to other things, and the magazine is now unfortunately defunct. I love seeing this story back online, together with “Sweet Porridge,” another piece from the middle of the book.

Read the stories and listen to the podcast here!

Bananas for Sale

One of the stories from my upcoming collection Like Water has been published in Scoundrel Time, an online literary magazine that began as a reaction to forces that attempt to fracture civil society. Here’s the extract from this piece:

The bananas were rotting on the factory floor outside of St. Petersburg. In early October, the temperature inside the nearly abandoned building held at just above freezing, too cold for the tropical fruit. Banana skins were greying, developing dark spots. They would survive just another week.


Three metric tons of neatly packed boxes, colorfully labeled and perforated with holes so that the fruit could breathe, towered on both sides of the assembly line. Until the previous winter, the factory manufactured sixty-three tractors a day; then production stopped. The bananas were a new venture of the young would-be acting director…

Read the rest of the story here.

Gunnhild Øyehaug’s Knots, Review

I recommend Gunnhild Øyehaug’s short story collection Knots, out from FSG this summer.

It felt foreordained to open this short story collection by the Norwegian writer Gunnhild Øyehaug and find IKEA on the first page, as in: “…park the car outside IKEA.” IKEA, now based in the Netherlands, originated in Sweden, but to many foreigners, it personifies Scandinavia—pleasant and unthreatening. “Blah, how boring,” was my first thought. Then, trying to stave off disappointment at being welcomed by the all-too-familiar global brand, I told myself, “Well, I guess IKEA did start somewhere nearby. Perhaps, Scandinavians have a particular attachment to clean lines.” (Nervous laughter.) I know that stereotyping is a form of blindness; in practice, my desire for novelty trips me up and leads to overly broad generalizations. Like a tourist, I had to remind myself to check my expectations at the airport.

Gunnhild Øyehaug’s Norway begins, indeed, with the comfortably familiar. . . .

Read the rest of my review on The Common.