By Ron Parsons
Aqueous Books, $16.99, 252 pages
If you are lucky enough to read The Sense of Touch, you will be picked up and plopped down into a sensuous world of snow, hills and farms. This is Ron Parson’s debut collection, a compilation of eight of his short stories. And these stories are marvelous, as each essay will sink into you like a frost overnight. Parsons has let the mid-west, especially Minnesota, shape his stories and characters. Filled with diverse characters, all of them seem to share a certain toughness around the edges, which can only be gained from experiencing the harsh and sometimes bleak mid-western surroundings.
The narrator in the story “The Sense of Touch” learns that “with touch, you know you know.” Parsons stories will certainly make readers “know” as they will touch your bones and your heart. In “As Her Heart is Navigated,” Parsons explores hidden emotions waiting to be unleashed in a young woman. In the story “Be Not Afraid of the Universe,” the last story in the book, readers will be chilled to the bone after reading about the life of a classical linguist and the unexpected twist his life takes.
The characters found within each of these stories are some of the most human you will ever encounter, yet they all wear a shroud of mystique. Writing may not be his full-time job, but Parsons has made himself a man to watch in the literary world. Each of these stories is as thrilling as the next.
Reviewed by Kristin Urban