Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Map of Tulsa: A Novel - Lytal

A Map of Tulsa: A Novel

Benjamin Lytal

After his freshman year away at a university out east Jim finds himself back in his hometown of Tulsa for the summer. While home he meets the enigmatic Adrienne who will change his life forever. Over the course of the summer Jim will rediscover Tulsa while mystifying the girl he has quickly come to love. However summers must end, and with the start of a semester Jim will learn how much three months can change a person.

Maybe it's my liberal arts background, or my return to my own hometown after years away at university but my feelings for A Map of Tulsa are a lot like a famous John Green quote, or very slowly and then all at once.    While I found Jim less than desirable his single minded obsession with Adrienne was interesting, and their summer adventures got me excited for the heat and stupid decisions of late July.

The second half of A Map of Tulsa is set five years later. With a directionless Jim, an emergency and a spur of the moment trip back to Oklahoma Lytal loses some of his luster. However the end result is a novel that resonated very strongly with me.  In the end it's not so much about Tulsa or Jim, but what it means to go home again, and how memories can be muddled.

Overall I really enjoyed A Map of Tulsa. It's not the best book I've read this year, but I continued to think about Jim and Adrienne for weeks later. It's short, sweet, and would make a great summer read.

Benjamin Lytal wrote this piece for the Paris Review, talking about Tulsa and geography in fiction. You should totally check it out.