These ten vivid stories feature war veterans, jaded professionals, lost faith, and recovered treasure. “Language of Desire” captures the predicaments of a misfit high school girl, an ambitious teenage boy, and the boy’s pragmatic mother. In “The Mandelbrot Set,” a quietly disillusioned Mormon mathematician meets a world-weary entrepreneur at a conference, where the two encounter a wondrous and unexpected revelation. The young man in “The Hardness of Steel” returns home to the Pennsylvania mill town where his father opposed the labor union. And in the title story, a German ex-patriot experiences a shattering memory of his service in World War II. With tenderness and generosity, Naylor uncovers the extraordinary mingling of sorrow and sweetness in ordinary life.