In “Zone of Mutuality,” the final story in Issue 57 of American Short Fiction, Karl Taro Greenfeld introduces us to Dwayne, a young man settling uneasily in to a perennial professional disappointment that threatens to swamp the rest of his life as well. As we wrote in our introductory note to the issue, Dwayne, “a ‘personal banker’ in a small bank branch whose title and cheap suit belie the essential sordidness of the job, moves through the indignities that make up his working day with a passivity that is not quite rooted enough to dull his awareness of them.” But Greenfeld relieves the everyday grimness of his subject with spiky humor that had us laughing aloud, and the targets of his pointed pen are never the characters themselves—those he handles with gentle respect, allowing them happiness in the least likely of circumstances. The following is an excerpt from “Zone of Mutuality.” To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy of the issue from our store .
Karl Taro Greenfeld is the author of eight books, including the novel Triburbia and the memoir Boy Alone, a Washington Post Best Book of 2009. His next novel, SubPrime, will be published by Harper in early 2015. His writing appears in The Atlantic, Harper’s, The Paris Review, Pen/O. Henry Prize Stories, and numerous Best American anthologies.