Trent Dalton is a local legend in Brisbane, an award winning and renowned author who has brought great acclaim to our little Aussie city.
During the pandemic, Dalton decided to pen his next novel. But it’s not a story of fiction or auto-biographical, like his previous work. This time, he collected and shared the love stories of others. He set up a typewriter and a card table in the CBD of Brisbane and started collecting stories. He spoke to people of all creeds, backgrounds, religions… immigrants, scientists, unhomed people, the elderly, the young. An aging gigolo, a priest, a tattooed survivor of horrific juvenile detention, non-native English speakers, his own wife… every story collected and shared is unique and personal and funny and tragic and charming and hopeful.
What he compiled is the most earnest collection of stories I’ve ever had the pleasure to hear. Spoken by Dalton himself, the audio book recording conveyed Dalton’s soft heart in every word of every story. Some may find the cloying, but listening to this on the walk to work each morning reliably set me up for a positive start to the day.
The fact that the book is quintessentially Brisbane made it all the more enjoyable to me. The next time I walk past a woman doing traffic control, I’ll wonder if she’s the immigrant who arrived in Brisbane on the day of the January 2011 floods, who despite the carnage fell in love with that body of water… Every time I see a chugger trying to get passers-by to sign up for their charity of choice, it’ll remind me of the hopeful broken hearted man who was trying to make ends meet. I’ll pass the Jamaican drummer reliably working outside the casino and wonder if things worked out with his ‘twin flame’.
The small insights this collection of stories gave into the hearts and minds of the people I walk past every day was exactly the right type of book for me, though YMMV if you hail from elsewhere. If you are, at your heart, a bit of a softy, then give Love Stories a try.
4 engraved wedding rings out of 5. (or 5/5, if you are a Brisbane local!)