A woman tries to prepare her man-child husband for their impending divorce. A middle-aged guy in the grip of codeine and suburban ennui reinvents himself as an old west gunfighter. A heartbroken father navigates life after his son is grievously injured. A writer returns home after caring for his dying father, and wonders if his own life’s work has been frivolous. After a series of improbable adventures in a single night, a young man wonders if he should accept that this is as good as life will ever get. A boy witnesses a tragedy that leads him to question the wisdom of his family’s move from the Midwest to an eastern industrial city.
The people in There Will Never Be Another Night Like This have one thing in common: they’re in flux. Will they pivot and move on gracefully, or stumble and fall?
Here you’ll find hilarity and tragedy, often on the same page. Salter’s insights into the human condition, its dreams and nightmares, are always unflinching but never without compassion. Vibrant writing and finely-tuned dialogue make There Will Never Be Another Night Like This an unforgettable collection in the tradition of short story masters like Raymond Carver, Ann Beattie, and John Cheever.
Salter is a fine writer with the muscular grace of a wind-swept prairie.
Jonis Agee, author of The River Wife
John Salter’s stories are of people quietly in trouble. Here are lives come to crossroads or parked at waysides; lives in need of a U-turn or a decision to drive straight on till daylight, though daylight in this lonely Upper Midwest is a long way off. These are ruminative tales of people on the brink of something they can’t yet name, and Salter’s beautiful language and willingness to let his characters careen make this a deeply moving and memorable collection.
Bret Lott, author of Jewel and The Hunt Club
This is a collection to savor, full to the brim with rich, generous stories that offer startling surprises of both the physical and the metaphysical variety. John Salter goes deep with his graceful prose and his complicated characters; you couldn’t ask for a better guide to the pressure, challenges, and myths that surround the American male experience.
Valerie Sayers, author of The Age of Infidelity and Other Stories
Salter’s characters, like Cheever’s and Updike’s, have a deep capacity for poetic self-reflection that is intensely satisfying. Fully entangled in social and family relationships, the characters in There Will Never Be Another Night Like This often seem to long for a simpler, more primal, existence. Salter renders the million small gestures and cues his characters must study to try to stay intact and maybe even get what they want in this minefield of a world.
Cheri Johnson, author of Annika Rose
John Salter’s new stories take us to familiar places. They make us smile to ourselves before the weight of the plot hits us like a hungry middleweight. By the end of each of these stories, I’m looking out the window, thinking big and small thoughts that could tilt a moral compass, or at least drench it in Beefeater’s gin and Johnny Walker Red. Salter is a writer’s writer but, like McGuane and Harrison, he’s accessible to all readers.
Scott Winter, Bethel University