Desire: Tales of New Orleans, a debut collection of short fiction by William Sterling Walker, delves into the gay demimonde in New Orleans before the flood. Circles of friends and acquaintances-lawyers and supermarket clerks, drifters, painters and musicians, cabaret singers and writers-alternately dominate the landscape and fade into the background. However they identify themselves, they speak a common language-funny, sexy, pithy, sometimes bitchy, always on-target. But perhaps the main character in the book is the city itself. A litany of place names evokes New Orleans’ visceral hold on these men; even when they are far away, the memory of the city haunts them. William Sterling Walker’s vividly imagined characters embody the unquenchable spirit of place that would go on to survive unimaginable natural disasters, both physical and personal. Like the city, they are unforgettable in their boldness and fascination.