The Liminal Spaces of Danny Marsh

Apr 5, 2021

Meet math-loving fourth grader, Danny Bowman Marsh, and join us for an unforgettable story to remind us all that we do not choose our parents. 

Note: This episode contains depictions of parental neglect.

On this episode, author Amy Parker joins us to discuss her short story collection, Beasts & Children, published by Mariner Books, and we take a journey into her short story, "The Balcony."

"Maybe if he acted like he didn't notice her, she'd go away. Danny erased a problem in long division, concentrating on the pink rubber shavings, the pencil smear. He blew them away, erased again. He erased so hard, he bore a hole in the paper. He liked long division, liked imagining the numbers entering a little house, fitting in neatly, with the remainders confined to the roof. The door squeaked, and his mother came in, slipping a little in her high heels. She weaved between the desks. Her perfume was like a blow from a fist."

Author Amy Parker
Credit Michael Kreiser Photography

In this collection of linked short stories, Parker explores the complex relationships in three families over two generations.  The stories shine a light specifically on the parents and their children in these fractured families, struggling to live in middle-class America.

Throughout the book, Parker explores the notion that children cannot choose their parents, but later in life, as adults, they can choose their "families."

Amy Parker is a fiction writer with an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.  Her work has appeared in Narrative, Five Chapters, At Length, Los Angeles Review Print Quarterly, and elsewhere.

She is the recipient of the Calvino prize in speculative fiction, a James Michener Fellowship in fiction and a Meta-Rosenberg fellowship in fiction, as well as grants from the Ucross Foundation, the Clarion Foundation, the Marble House Foundation, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation/Vermont Studio Center. She is a lecturer at the University of Iowa’s Center for Writing, and she lives in Iowa City.

Composer and musician, Joseph Fuller

  

Thank you to our voice actors Emily Lane Smith, Logan Wells, Rowan Wells, Faith Wells, Ginny Mitchell, Adam Simon, Drew deFrance, and Joseph Fuller as Danny.

Music for this episode was written and performed by Joseph Fuller, with Michael Fuller, Jessica Fuller, Tommy Priakos, Reade Mitchell, Jeff White, Phil Houston, and Drew deFrance. 

Thank you to Stickyz Rock 'N' Roll Chicken Shack for keeping music alive and well in Arkansas.

Generous funding for this episode was provided by the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Executive Producer & Host: J. Bradley Minnick

Producer & Story Editor: Mary Ellen Kubit

  

Sound Mixing & Mastering: Simon Sound Studio