With winter’s snow and spring’s chilly rain now long behind us, we can exhale and settle into summer, a time when the world outside, in all its verdant splendor and warmth, opens up again and invites us to engage with it: we open the windows, we eat outdoors, we may even sleep outdoors. The quintessential image of summer for many of us is stretching out with some fabulously long book under the generous shade of a tree.

A desire for connection with the natural world frames this issue’s short stories: with minerals, volcanoes, sand, sea, wind, and, perhaps most especially, little terriers. Leticia, the title character of Yalitza Ferreras’s “The Letician Age,” is driven by a lifelong fascination with the wonders of geology, leading to both her success and peril. The daughter of back-to-the-landers hopes to reconnect with her partner by taking her on a camping trip in Elisabeth Hamilton’s “Homesteaders.” And Jenny Irish’s heartbreaking “I Am Faithful” explores the profoundly intense relationship between humans and dogs.

In nonfiction, we have three essays that concern memory. In “Counterclockwise,” Jennifer Anderson examines the moment her life divided into before and after—and discovers that her memory of it is not quite accurate. Melissa Ferrone’s dreamlike meditation “Blood and Stars” braids together childhood fears, mythology, astronomy, and personal and communal memories of her hometown of Manassas, Virginia. And Mason Stokes sifts through memories and mementos of his uncle, trying to discern whether they shared something more significant, more poignant, than just their first name in “Namesake.”

And we are very pleased to be featuring the first chapter of Lori Ostlund’s forthcoming novel, After the Parade (Scribner),  published here as “Passing through Needles,” in which we meet Aaron, who is leaving his partner of twenty years and not getting an easy start on his journey west to begin a new life. Watch for the release in September; it won’t be too late to find the perfect tree, leaves just beginning to turn, the heat relenting just a bit, under which you can recline and savor the rest of Ostlund’s debut novel.

Welcome to the summer issue.

Featured in This Issue

D. M. Aderibigbe, Kazim Ali, Hala Alyan, Jennifer Anderson, Lucy Anderton, Talvikki Ansel, Kate Asche, Joelle Biele, Ana Cristina César, Lauren Crux, Victoria Estol, Javier Etchevarren, Yalitza, Ferreras, Melissa Ferrone, Paola Gallo, Adam Giannelli, Andrew Grace, Elisabeth Hamilton, Bradley Harrison, Chris Haven, Brenda Hillman, Helen Hillman, H. L. Hix, James Hoch, Jenny Irish, Sally Keith, Jesse Lee Kercheval, Ruth Ellen Kocher, Brandon Kreitler, Shayla Lawson, Seth Michelson, Thylias Moss, Lori Ostlund, Danielle Pafunda, Simon Perchik, Craig Santos Perez, Donald Platt, Michael Pontacoloni, Roger Reeves, Freya Rohn, Laurie Sewall, Mason Stokes, Laura-Gray Street, Tess Taylor, Barbara Tomash

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