The Sense of Touch
Stories by Ron Parsons
Published by Aqueous Books
Release Date: May 1, 2013
$14.00 Trade Paperback
Old friends uncomfortably reunited and lovers who cling to their distance from one another; disappearing fathers, fiercely loving grandfathers, and strangers who pass through and radically change lives. These are among the characters who populate the rugged Midwestern landscapes of the mesmerizing fictional world of Ron Parsons.
In his debut collection, The Sense of Touch (Aqueous Books; May 1, 2013), Parsons captures people of various ages in the act of searching for meaning and connection and themselves. Firmly set in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Michigan, the lush but often brutally cold heartland of America, the eight stories explore universal themes—loneliness, betrayal, transformation, hope—in fresh, sometimes fanciful, sometimes comical, sometimes jarring, and always moving and memorable ways.
In The Sense of Touch, you will meet:
Naseem Sayem, the brilliant, troubled, and mystifying young man at the center of Hezekiah Number Three. A native of Bangladesh abruptly transplanted to the stark white suburbs of Rapid City at age nine, Naseem never fit in and eventually moved on to study physics at MIT—where, shortly before graduation and after shocking news of his father’s infidelity and abandonment, he apparently unraveled and vanished. Three months later, he reappeared out of the blue on his stepmom’s doorstep, holding a three-legged cat. Naseem’s long search for belonging reaches its apex in a hot air balloon floating over the Crazy Horse Monument.
Waylon Baker, a wheat farmer from birth, and Evie Lund, his wife of twenty-four years and counting, even though she has chosen to live far away—in the alien world of the Twin Cities—for eight years. The odd couple at the heart of Beginning with Minneapolis, Waylon and Evie can’t bear to live together or to divorce because they still love each other with a passion, reignited when they find themselves deep down in the dirt, in a hole Waylon dug in his wheat field to serve as Evie’s grave.
The nameless narrator of the title story, a serious, young freshman at the University of Minnesota, fleeing yet still attached to his youth in Texas, haunted both by its predatory demons and its romantic dreams. His liberation comes through an alluring muse: his fiction-writing teacher. A ravishing, wild-haired, Memphis-born African-American graduate student, Vonda speaks directly to him when she makes her dramatic pronouncements. Like, “Our masks are not worn, people. They’re grown, day by day.” And “Never trust anything, not until you can touch it. With touch, you know you know.”
About the Author
RON PARSONS is a writer living in Sioux Falls. Born in Michigan and raised in South Dakota, he was inspired to begin writing fiction in Minneapolis while attending the University of Minnesota. His short stories have appeared In literary magazines such as The Gettysburg Review, Indiana Review, The Briar Cliff Review, Flyway, and The Onion.