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The Allison Show: Guest Post "Fathers" by Mary Maddox

The Allison Show

All things Allison

Thursday, December 9

Guest Post "Fathers" by Mary Maddox

***And don't forget to check out my review of her book Talion tomorrow!!!***

In the second chapter of Talion, as the serial killer Rad begins stalking Lu and Lisa, the two teens are getting to know each other. Lisa has trouble even starting a conversation with Lu and thinks they have nothing whatsoever in common. Lu regards Lisa with a mixture of jealousy and contempt. But their histories reveal a shared bond. Both have been abandoned by their fathers.

For Lisa the abandonment is literal. Since their parents’ divorce, she and her older brother, Randy, have received zero love or attention from their father. His attorney mails out the child support checks; his secretary sends gift cards for their birthdays and Christmas.  It has been four years since they’ve seen him. Lisa wistfully remembers that last visit – shopping and hanging out in a Chicago condo with their father’s girlfriend, who spent far more time with them than he did. Lisa has a loving stepfather, but he’s an ordinary small-town guy, drab in comparison to her rich and sophisticated “real” father. She knows that distant father doesn’t love her, but she can’t help glamorizing him.

Lu’s father, Duane, abandons her to the insanity of his second wife. He fails to protect Lu from Norlene’s brutal abuse. His self-absorption, stupidity, and drunkenness make it possible for him to ignore the bruises on his daughter, but an underlying reason – something he lacks the insight to acknowledge to himself – is the suspicion that Lu isn’t his biological child. Though she closely resembles Duane’s dead first wife, she couldn’t be more different from him. Inwardly Lu has disowned him. When Talion announces that her real father is someone else, she reacts with fierce joy.

 Lu and Lisa have too much history and complexity to be reduced to victims. Despite the sometimes harrowing violence, they aren’t in the novel to be Rad’s prey. At its heart, Talion is their story, not his.

 About the author:
Mary Maddox grew up in Utah and California. A graduate of Knox College and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she now teaches at Eastern Illinois University. She lives in Charleston, Illinois with her husband, film scholar Joe Heumann. Her interests include dressage and tournament Scrabble. Mary’s short stories have appeared in a number of magazines including Farmer's Market, Yellow Silk, and The Scream Online. Her writing has been honored with awards from the Illinois Arts Council. Talion, her debut novel, is available at Barnes and Noble online and at as a trade paperback and as a Kindle book. You can visit her at her Web site, read her blog at and follow her on Twitter at


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