Benjamin Lytal


Benjamin Lytal has written for numerous publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the London Review of Books, and the Nation. Originally from Tulsa, he currently lives in Chicago.

A Map of Tulsa

A Map of Tulsa RGB

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  • A Map of Tulsa is Benjamin Lytal’s first novel.
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Advance Praise for A Map of Tulsa

  • ‘Fearless, serious, and impressive . . . Lytal asks the essential questions.’ Gary Sernovitz, The New York Times Book Review
  • ‘A Map of Tulsa deserves comparison with the very best novels of its kind, from James Salter’s A Sport and a Pastime to Scott Spencer’s Endless Love. It’s also one of the most insightful books about the comforts (and traps) of small-city parochialism I’ve ever read.’ Tom Bissell, Harper’s Magazine
  • ‘Depicted with an Updike-esque lyricism … the prose is near flawless. … Lytal is clearly going to be a name to watch.’ WB Gooderham, the Guardian
  • ‘A Map of Tulsa is superbly evocative of Jim and Adrienne’s discoveries of sex, love and jealousy. Mr. Lytal’s exhilarating writing is reminiscent of winsome, confessional bildungsromans like Ben Lerner’s Leaving the Atocha Station (2011) or John Cotter’s Under the Small Lights (2010).’ Sam Sacks,  Wall Street Journal
  • ‘Ambitious. . . . Witty. . . .  Wise. . . . A joyous elegy to the great, passed-over cities of middle America. . . . Like Bret Easton Ellis’s Clay from Less Than Zero, another kid on break from college, Jim has the freedom to remake himself. . . . And with good old Jim as our eyes and ears, we experience the ecstasy of that first, 20-something romance.’ Boston Globe
  • ‘Mr. Lytal, a Tulsa native, gets the push and pull of home just right.’  New York Times
  • ‘This lyrical slow burn of a book is . . . a meditation on place, destiny, and fate.’  New Yorker
  • ‘Tender and engaging. . . . . A memorable coming-of-age tale about hometown ambivalence and finding a place in the world. . . . The tension between the cosmopolitan and provincial, the sensuous and the chaste, is a big reason why A Map of Tulsa is so memorable. . . . [Lytal’s] great achievement in A Map of Tulsa is to bring his hometown to life as a place where all sorts of American ghosts can be found living amid the seemingly generic landscape of a midsized, middle-American city.’ Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times
  • ‘…a story of love for a time, a place and an ideal.’ Carl MacDougall, Warwick Review
  • ​‘Benjamin Lytal’s debut novel is a Bildungsroman that works against genre, dismantling conceits about youth and personal history in the style of Ben Lerner’s Leaving the Atocha Station … A Map of Tulsa is an ecstatic romance and a comment on the mythologies we build out of our beginnings.’ New Statesman
  • ‘A Map of Tulsa is infused with the poignancy that comes of being too naïve and narcissistic to value what you already have … A Map of Tulsa has a drifting, and somewhat aimless quality in keeping with the rudderless desires of youth. Lytal’s strongest gifts lie in the offbeat, lyrical way he conjures up the emptiness of Tulsa…’ Patrick Langley, Times Literary Supplement
  • ‘The reader comes to realise that Jim Praley is not so much an unreliable narrator as a hopelessly gauche one … A Map of Tulsa is a complex novel, elegiac in tone whilst still managing to criticise the nostalgia of its protagonist … Lytal’s writing is both fresh and familiar … There’s a hint of Springsteen in this story of small town aspiration and adventure, and something admirably blue collar about his style, straightforward and brisk … A confident and assured debut.’ The Literateur
  • ‘A romance of the West, an Oklahoma of glass skyscrapers, oil fortunes, and dive bars. Lytal’s first novel is a love story and a tragedy and a stunning work of lyricism.’ Christian Lorentzen, Bookforum 


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A Map of Tulsa


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