Excerpt from A Map of Tulsa by Benjamin Lytal, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

A Map of Tulsa

A Novel

by Benjamin Lytal

A Map of Tulsa
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    Mar 2013, 272 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Emma had been the valedictorian.

I think I had been a little famous for the puppy-dog way I followed Emma around, in the last spring of high school. I had no idea where she was this summer, I was happy to tell Edith— probably some internship.

Now I stood managing to look a little bored, with one foot kicked behind me, pretending to balance like a ballerina in front of Edith and her friend.

" Sorry— this is my friend Cam." Edith began to explain who I was. "So Jim was a mystery in high school. Emma started dating him and that was the last we ever saw of her. Nobody knew who Jim was. He refused to hang out with other people."

I was going to turn and go—I was not going to be patronized—while Edith carried on and this girl Cam just sat there patting her bangs. I would leave them alone. I could say that I said hello.

But Edith asked to see my sketchpad. "You should get us some shots," she suggested.

"Read the poems," I called back from the bar, "the drawings are just like, you know, realism! I could take lessons or something!"

When I ordered not simply another vodka, but three "shots," the bartender smiled. He had seen me making friends. Back at the table, Edith was taking my poems seriously: "These are actually good," she said.

Awkwardly, we didn't do the shots right away. We started talking poets—until, I think, I got too sweeping about whom I did and didn't like, and it was suggested we all take a walk.

"The BOK Tower is so beautiful" is the first thing I said outside. It had gotten dark, and the skyscrapers floated on the other side of the tracks like magnificent holograms.

Cam, I now learned, was not from Tulsa. She had come home with Edith from college. "Isn't Tulsa weird?" I asked her. "On that side of the tracks, we build up all the skyscrapers, but immediately on this side of the tracks it's nothing but a warehouse district."

"Cam's from Hartford."

"Hartford must be awesome," I said.

Cam pointed across the tracks. "So is that where the cool kids hang out?" Under the shadows, opening out between the skyscrapers, lay a half- dim square, dominated by a huge, clanking flagpole. Moths were visible in the security lights, and we could hear what sounded like skateboards, rolling in the dark. The Center of the Universe, I believed it was called. For its Guinness Records powers of echo. But I had never felt I had permission to show up there.

"Do you guys want to go across?" I asked.

"We were actually thinking we should go dancing."

So we were too old for the Center of the Universe— I assimilated this information painlessly.

Edith— who was trying to entice Cam as much as me— explained that it was Retro Night at the Cain's Ballroom. "It's from Prohibition," she told Cam. "Like the oldest club in Tulsa."

I lifted up one finger. "Can we make a pit stop at the Blumont first?"

"Well, we can get drinks at the Cain's," Edith said. I saw her smile to herself.

  • 1
  • 2

Excerpted from A Map of Tulsa by Benjamin Lytal. Copyright © 2013 by Benjamin Lytal. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: A Great Reckoning
    A Great Reckoning
    by Louise Penny
    Canadian author Louise Penny is back with her twelfth entry in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache ...
  • Book Jacket: Homegoing
    Homegoing
    by Yaa Gyasi
    It's all very well to challenge people to be the masters of their own destiny, but when you&#...
  • Book Jacket: When Breath Becomes Air
    When Breath Becomes Air
    by Paul Kalanithi
    When Breath Becomes Air is the autobiography of Paul Kalanithi, written in the time period between ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Who Said...

The only completely consistent people are the dead

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay:
$400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.