This post was written by Communications Intern Sara Heegaard.
Amy Fusselman has long inspired us with her masterful storytelling, humor, and advocation of the power of our voices – and her latest book does not disappoint. Savage Park (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015), is not only an exploration, a meditation, and a balancing act – it is a demonstration of the world that can open up when we move through space with understanding.
Shepherding us through her memoir, Fusselman begins with a visit to Tokyo, where she and her family come across a playground that is very different than the parks of New York – children play with tools and construct their own entertainment with tree-shelters, fires, and rope swings. The trust she sees there in the spirit of playfulness leads her to a place of reckoning with our American conceptions of risk, fear, and home – how all these ideas can become ways of being, and how a misunderstanding of them can be the greatest danger of all.
With late-night games in Tokyo parks, tight-rope lessons with Philippe Petit, a New York wedding march from the Upper West Side to Tribeca, and playgrounds around the world, Fusselman delves deep into the spaces that can open up through movement, balance, and exploration. By locating the sources of our discomfort, she shows us, we can also find a way through them – gaining a freedom of movement in the balance between fear and trust.
From the very beginning, Fusselman sets her intention in the book’s dedication: “To the players in the playgrounds everywhere.” From there, with a hand that is guiding but not forceful, playful but not reckless, Fusselman writes with compact and evocative prose, constructing a world that is not yet ours, but could be – a way of living that can open up for us, and for our children, if we choose to let it.
Amy Fusselman is the author of three nonfiction books: The Pharmacist’s Mate, 8, and Savage Park. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, ARTnews, Ms. magazine, The Hairpin, and elsewhere. As “Dr.” Fusselman, she writes a column for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency called “Family Practice.” She is the editor of the online art and literary journal Ohio Edit. She lives in New York City.