Reading: Karl Taro Greenfeld in One Story

While self is reading Alan Moorehead’s The White Nile, she is constantly reaching into a huge pile of unread literary magazines.  And she is always coming up with —  many different issues of One Story. Which perhaps shouldn’t be so surprising, since a new story arrives every three weeks.

Self finds the quality of the stories uniformly good.  The issue she’s reading now is Issue Number 149 (Why are the letters so infinitesimally tiny, that’s the only complaint self really has about this publication.  Does One Story really want to limit its audience to people who are not yet required to use bi-focals or reading glasses?).

The story, “Partisans,” has a vaguely science fiction tone.  She knows it’s about a war, but the landscape is vague.  Quickly, self pages to the back of the story to read the Author Bio.  And there is none.  Is she dreaming?  Again and again she thumbs through Issue Number 149.  No, she is not dreaming!  There is no Author Bio for Karl Taro Greenfeld.  With a name like that:  he could either be a resident of New York, Tel Aviv, or South Africa.  How’s that for self’s powers of deduction?  (And then a reader will be sure to leave a comment along the lines of:  You are so stupid.  Don’t you know who Karl Taro Greenfeld is?  You Luddite!  Call yourself a sentient being!  Always bringing up the Stanford stuff, the UCLA Extension stuff, the fact that you are a published short story writer!  You’re nothing but a pretender!  A stinking pretender!  Now, where was she?)

Of course, she could always google Mr. Greenfeld.  Shouldn’t be that hard to establish who he is, what he’s written, and if he’s famous.  But, this evening, self resists the impulse.

Instead, she will share with dear blog readers a section that puts her greatly in mind of The White Nile:

I had rarely ventured far from the capital.  My family had gone on excursions to the coast, cloudy weeks, the sea saturated with medusae.  Yet we had never visited the south, as it was considered to be an uncivilized, harsh land suitable for goat herding and the subsistence agriculture practiced by aboriginals.

I had just retired from another uneventful watch —  more rocks, more fruitless dwarf olive trees, more cactus, more harsh scrub scraping the earth —  and had taken up position under the tarp with my fellows when I heard Orston, shout, “Riders!”

We roused ourselves and made a noisy scramble for our bolt-action rifles.  We lay down at the edge of our railcar and scanned the horizon in the direction Orston was pointing.  There, in the distance, silhouetted by taupe-colored hills, we saw a squadron in grey and brown robes galloping parallel to us.  Their steeds kicked up a thick cloud of yellow and orange dust that trailed behind them like dense smoke, as if they were ablaze.

“Aboriginals,” that’s a curious word.  Perhaps the author is Australian?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.


  1. Yosef said,

    May 22, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Hi Self!
    It has been a long time since I checked in to your blog and lo and behold you are asking about Karl Taro Greenfeld, an author who’s book “Speed Tribes” I recently finished reading.
    As his name may indicate, Karl Taro Greenfeld is of Japanese-Jewish parentage.
    I myself was curious as to his heritage based on his name and insider’s knowledge of Japan. The book was quite good if a trifle dated, being about the Japanese bubble in the late ’80’s .
    I think that Mr Greenfeld has been a sports journalist of late, writing and editing for Sports Illustrated I think.
    Anyway, sorry to hear about your dog.
    Oh, here is a bit of gossip about my store in Tel Aviv. Joel Coen, of the Coen Brothers wandered in and browsed a bit. I was floored. We had a short conversation, he took my card, signed the dusty guest book, and wandered out…(no he didn’t purchase anything). I do get Israeli celebs here and there, but they are virtually unknown outside of Israel. The Philippine Ambassador Modena used to shop here, a real nice guy and a true book-lover, but unfortunately he passed away. Did you know him?
    That is all for now my friend. Take care, Yosef Halper, Halper’s Bookstore Tel Aviv

  2. May 22, 2011 at 8:03 pm


    You should write that story (about Karl Taro Greenfeld)

    I want to visit Tel Aviv! I asked my niece if she were interested in coming along, she said yes, but the only free time she has is the week of Thanksgiving …

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