“Our 2018 Book Recommendations” by Chris Turner-Neal
Country Roads Magazine, December 2018
“One of the most important skills any person can develop is to eavesdrop well. If you can gaze vacantly at a paperback while skimming the conversations around you like radio stations, you’ll seldom have a dull flight. (The paperback is essential; the last thing you want to have happen is that someone you’re trying to eavesdrop on actually addresses you.) If you can master this feat, the world is your Scheherazade; prison stints, miscarriages, failed loves, alcoholic binges, dramatic resignations, ashtray-throwing breakups, and any other human drama you can imagine will be described within eight feet of you if you but look nonthreatening and hide behind a novel.
Dalt Wonk’s slender new volume of short stories is a veritable bus station of these conversations. Loosely organized around a technically fictional piano bar (most pianos bars are the same, wherein lies their appeal), the stories capture the tense interactions one loves—okay, I love—to witness from a safe distance. A breakup leads to a man angrily dividing a thick envelope of cash in the middle of Canal Street; a conversation between a doo-wop-era has-been and a perfume counter saleswoman turns into a nuclear confrontation over a purse. This book is the perfect way to experience a good old New Orleans scene, hissy fit, donnybrook, or altercation without actually having to go to the Quarter.”