The essays in Dustin Parsons’ brilliant collection, Exploded View, often begin with received forms—from floodplain diagrams, to mousetrap design, to step-by-step directions for the fashioning of paper birds—and then repurpose them, via a wholly original and exhilarating interaction between text and visual, into a fresh and urgent schematic for living, for obsessing, for enduring pain, and for minimizing hurt. This collection is full of surprises in its inventive drive to take the seemingly-mundane ornaments of our world—the things that we have previously mistook for simple—and restore them to their innate (sometimes-horrifying, sometimes-beautiful, but always-astonishing) complexity. I will never look at a radial arm saw, or a pistol, or a dog, or the ways in which a parent teaches a child to love in quite the same ways ever again. —Matthew Gavin Frank, author of Preparing the Ghost and The Mad Feast
This is a beautifully written book. Its sentences continuously stunned me with their grace and precision. In a moment when so much of what we take in is driven by the visual, this book's central premise is brilliant and timely. I am thinking about Claudia Rankine's Citizen and also Don't Let Me Be Lonely and the ways in which they compel readers differently than more straightforward narrative might. Parsons has pulled off a similar feat here. —Camille T. Dungy, author of Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race, Motherhood, and History
Dustin Parsons's debut collection of essays, Exploded View, is an intricate diagram of the lived experiences of a loving son and father. Part memoir, part map of home, part schematic exploration of work and family, this book is as innovative in form as it is heartfelt and smart. Parsons writes of landscapes I know—western Kansas and fatherhood—but does it with such heart and grace and skill that he makes the familiar unfamiliar and wondrous. As only the best architects of language can do, he gathers up the bones and fragments of a life and builds a body that is so much bigger and grander than any summation of its parts.
—Steven Church, author of I'm Just Getting to the Disturbing Part: On Work, Fear and Fatherhood A few excerpts from the new book can be found here and here. Order Exploded View: Essays on Fatherhood, with Diagrams here or here !