In addition to our spotlight on Crux: The Georgia Series in Literary Nonfiction, we are also posting Dustin Parsons’s Decatur Book Festival discussion panel.
Parsons’s Exploded View: Essays on Fatherhood, with Diagrams is a novel view of fathers and the gadgets that make up childhood. In the book “graphic” essays play with the conventions of telling a life story and with how illustration and text work together in print. As with a graphic novel, the story is not only in the text but also in how that text interacts with the images that accompany it.
Diagrams were an important part of Dustin Parsons’s childhood. Parsons’s father was an oilfield mechanic, and in his spare time he was also a woodworker, an automotive mechanic, a welder, and an artist. His shop had countless manuals with “exploded view” parts directories that the young Parsons flipped through constantly. Whether rebuilding a transmission, putting together a diesel engine, or assembling a baby cradle, his father had a visual guide to help him. In these essays, Parsons uses the same approach to understanding his father as he navigates the world of raising two young biracial boys.
Joining him on the panel is James C. Abbot Jr., author of The Burdens of Aeneas: A Son’s Memoir of Love and Duty, which uses Virgil’s masterpiece, Aeneid, to blend the personal story of his father, a small-town Southern lawyer battling bigotry and his own demons, with insights from the great poem. The panel is moderated by Charlie Bennett, host of Lost in the Stacks, a podcast produced out of the Georgia Tech Research Library.
If you’d like to listen to previous episodes of Annotations, click here.