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The Sense of Touch Paperback – April 30, 2013
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"The quiet plains of the North Country serve as a perfect backdrop for Parsons' moving debut, a collection of short stories whose characters often live deeply solitary, if not always lonely, lives."
--Kirkus Reviews - Best Books of 2014 (starred review)
"Eloquently written and replete with a continual stream of un-hackneyed twists and turns, Parsons' collection is superbly crafted. Engaging, riveting, and at times, mind-boggling, The Sense of Touch is earmarked to become a literary classic."
--San Francisco Book Review (five-star review)
Parsons has made himself a man to watch in the literary world. Each of these stories is as thrilling as the next.
--Portland Book Review (five-star review)
Ron Parsons' stellar debut collection is full of stories as changeable and unpredictable as a Midwestern springtime, as fresh and clear as a hidden waterfall, as sudden and perplexing as an unsolved murder. At once playful and deadly serious, hilarious and sad, these are the kinds of stories that will involve your own memory even as they show you a world you've likely never seen.
--Peter Geye, author of The Lighthouse Road
Ron Parsons in the sensitive sensual stories of The Sense of Touch explores the infinite spaces between the cold cold stars as well as the subatomic bosons and protons of timid touches, the uncertain certainty in Zeno's paradox of never connecting connections. These tales are the winsome hissing of busy signals lisping in the icy nicely nice neighborhoods of the missing Midwest at the intersection of polite delight and absolute zero at the bone.
--Michael Martone, author of Four for a Quarter and Michael Martone
--South Dakota Magazine
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 such places as The Gettysburg Review, Indiana Review, The Briar Cliff Review, Flyway, and The Onion
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Parsons, a full-time attorney who squeezes in writing during his free time, states on his website (http://ronparsonswriter.com/index/) that his first published book has been a process, which "started in college" and was "twenty years in the making." Written either in first or third person, many from this collection were submissions that made their initial appearance in various literary magazines, "such as The Gettysburg Review, Indiana Review, The Briar Cliff Review, Flyway, and The Onion," and one that was "named one of two runner's up for the David Schwarz Fiction Prize." Parsons, whose list of influences include a full list of literary favorites, could have easily incorporated Rod Serling in the mix – based on a couple of his stories.
"Beginning with Minneapolis" relays the story of Waylon Baker and his estranged relationship with his ex-wife, Evie, who unexpectedly comes back into his life. Daniel visits a somewhat disgruntled blind friend, Ed, in "The Black Hills." Ed hopes that his life is turning out for the better, now that he has a live-in girlfriend – or so he thinks. In "As Her Heart is Navigated" Haley is at the cusp of a long-time relationship with Clint. Anticipating that he'll pop the question at any moment, she is suddenly caught up in an "unforcasted flurry of events" that leads to a whole new set of circumstances. Finally, Virgil is confronted with decisions he has carefully averted in "Moonlight Bowling." The aforementioned stories are written in third person.
Penned in first person with unknown narrators, a young man shares his eye opening educational and personal experiences in this story fittingly named after the title of Parsons debut compilation, while another young man reflects on his life with his twin brother and grandfather in "Big Blue." Of primary significance – also written in first person – are "Hezekiah Number Three" and "Be Not Afraid of the Universe." Alluding to Parsons' list of literary influences, both reflect superlative representations of Rod Serling's unforgettable Twilight Zone series. "Hezekiah Number Three" is Tom's account about his friend, Naseem, whose life unfurls into bizarre and surreal situations, while another unknown narrator enlightens readers with his simple life story that has a chilling closure in "Be Not Afraid of the Universe."
Eloquently written and replete with a continual stream of un-hackneyed twists and turns, Parsons' collection is superbly crafted. Engaging, riveting, and at times, mind-boggling, The Sense of Touch is earmarked to become a literary classic.
Originally posted on San Francisco Book Review, Anita Lock, Book Reviewer
The Sense Of Touch is Parson's debut anthology. It contains eight stories that tell of the human longing for connection and the myriad ways we have of missing that connection, due to inattention or missed touch points.
There are stories of immigrants who have difficulties fitting in to a new culture, of friendships that somehow got lost over time, of marriages that start with hope but end up dry and brittle things that crumple and blow away. The title story, The Sense Of Touch, is about a student who has come from his native Texas to the University of Minnesota to take a creative writing class and find out if he has any talent. Readers will relate to someone being in an environment totally different from that where one was raised, attempting to make friends and to discover what really makes up one's personality and talents.
While the subject of these stories may sound bleak, that is not the feeling one gets reading them. They provide hope. The human animal will never give up that attempt to reach out and connect with others, even if not initially successful. The stories are quiet and flowing, leaving the reader to contemplate their messages. This book is recommended for readers who enjoy short story anthologies and for those interested in how the human spirit continues to reach for connection with others.
This is the debut for this author, and I plan on reading anything else he publishes. I love his writing style and the way he makes you "feel" for the characters.
The Sense of Touch by author Ron Parsons dives passionately and affectionately into the typical problematic human relations. These eight short stories are collected into a scene for each reader’s own remembered past upon their own experiences. The eight stories unfold to tell of friendships, loves, loss and betrayals, ranging from the emotional scale of sad to funny. Each of these wonderfully written stories, come from an original thought, an emotional telling and a rather entertaining perspective. The characters involved into the stories, were also expressive, able to be related to, and downright level with the emotional gist of human nature. If the weather has got you down and stuck indoors, grab The Sense of Touch by Ron Parsons and kick back on your favorite chair and grab a blanket, for this one will be a fictional great read that warms the heart and the soul.
Most recent customer reviews
A collection of (eight) short stories. Each is brilliantly written an delving deep into each persons soul and mind.Read more
I was most surprised and deeply disappointed by the writings.Read more