Welcome to the tour for Dreamland Court by Dale Herd. Read on for more details and an exclusive excerpt!
Publication Date: February 22, 2022
Genre: Literary Fiction/ Romance
Set in the blighted industrial landscape of the Los Angeles basin, Dreamland Court is an underground love story.
Just out of prison, Johnny Dalton returns home to find his wife Jackie, the mother of his two small children, passionately involved with one of his good friends.
Doing everything in his power to win her back, Johnny blunders his way through one criminal enterprise after another. When the cops pick him up for being the only adult present at a wild teenage party, he’s sent back to jail.
The strange thing is, as far as Jackie is concerned, Johnny’s maneuvers actually work.
Reminiscent of the pathos in Hubert Selby’s Last Exit to Brooklyn, and the comedy of John Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World, Dale Herd focuses his astute gaze on lives that are ordinarily invisible, while turning the conventional love story on its head.
“Known for his brilliant short prose pieces as published in the books, Early Morning Wind, Wild Cherries, Diamonds, and Empty Pockets, Dale Herd is a meticulous recorder of the language we move around in, and he possesses the skill and guts to take it all the way. His underground novel Dreamland Court is simply a masterpiece.”
Kevin Opstedal, Blue Press Books
When I was a kid I felt the only behavior that was mine was bad behavior, my mother took credit for good behavior, but bad behavior was my behavior. Now I was usually good, but regarded my life as a sort of prison term and that when I got out of school or married or eighteen I would start my own life. I didn’t nurse Dawnie. I wanted to nurse. I really did. But sometimes you can’t, even if you want to, not if you’re nervous. There’s a reflex mechanism in your head that won’t release. I thought she was taking it. I would feel she was, but she wasn’t. I felt I was squirting it out but she wasn’t getting it, So I had to give her the bottle, which made Johnny mad. He said having a breast in your mouth was one of the best things in life and he wanted only the best things for his daughter and that ice cream was just a substitute for breast milk and that’s why vanilla ice cream was everybody’s favorite, people that had been breast-fed, that is, that people that hadn’t been breast-fed had to have all those fancy ones like Cherry Jubilee or Mint Chip or Rocky Road, which were never satisfactory.
Well, let’s see. There’s Gun-Gun and Leo-Peo and Margarette an’ then there’s Pepsi n’ Lejo, Frosty n’ Pucksters, and Skip. How many is that? Eight? Nine? That should be nine. You know, it’s just awful when one of them goes. The only thought you have is go get another one, you know, one just like it, so’s the others don’t get lonely, but, well, there you are again. Did I say Skipper? I did, didn’t I? I said Skip. And Pansy June? So there’s her, n’ Rags, n’ Solly. The last two are both boy cats, they come from the same litter, real little wild cats, too. An’ John? ‘Well,’ I said to him, ‘I just called Bob Wheeler and asked if you’d really been released with no probation,’ and he said, ‘Not likely.’ So then John says, ‘Who’re you gonna believe, a goddamn P.O. or your own son? Would you just give me the gall-darn keys, please?’ And I said, ‘Honey, now I know you think your wife’s driving you crazy, but if you’re feeling crazy it’s because you’re doing things that are making you crazy.’ I told him, I said, ‘That’s just the way it is. That’s the way it was with your dad, n’ that’s the way it is for you, too. So if you really want to do something about it the first thing you need to do is to just stay away from her until you get yourself together.’ Now that’s exactly what I told him.
About the Author
Dale Herd has published four books of short stories. His writing has been shaped by the many experiences he has had working as an itinerant laborer on construction sites, wrecking yards, in fast food kitchens, gas stations, Salvation Army yards, slaughterhouses, train yards, and in social work. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife. They have three sons.
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