Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall: A Novel

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Knopf, 1996 - Domestic fiction - 187 pages
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The fictional Sparling is a more than slightly befuddled everyman. He works in an office where people appear to do nothing but shuffle paper and carry boxes of files from one room to another. He's married to Tutti, who spends her evenings engrossed in reruns of Star Trek, and whose bedtime ritual consists of constructing food charts for the next day's meals. He looks back on his parents failed marriage with no small measure of regret. And - most important - he is father to Sammy, the little boy upon whom he lavishes all the seemingly boundless affection he's able to summon from the depths of his quietly aching heart. In his attempt to find his place in a banal and sometimes not very pretty universe, Sparling seeks solace and validation not only in his interaction with his son, but also in language - a language all his own that is by turns repetitive, imagistic, even hallucinatory. He tells this traditional story in a very untraditional way by reciting interior monologues, spinning anecdotes so funny they often border on the painful, and tossing off random thoughts in between - all the while reveling in the absurdities of human relations. Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall is a poignant charting of a man's attempt to be the ideal son, husband, and father while fighting a strong impulse to run screaming away from the adult life he has suddenly found himself steeped in - with no clue as to how he got there.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Toronto-based Sparling's debut is a short, elliptic, school- of-depression chronicle of married life that never quite convinces the reader of its reason for being. The teller of this sometimes briefly ... Read full review


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About the author (1996)

Pedlar Press author Ken Sparling's novel Book (2010) was shortlisted for both the Trillium Award and relit awards. He has had four novels published by Pedlar, including his most recent, Intention Implication Wind (2011). His handmade novel, Hush Up and Listen Stinky Poo Butt, was issued in a 10th anniversary paperback edition in 2010 by Artistically Declined Press. Sparling has had short pieces published by Mud Luscious Press, New York Tyrant, and Gigantic magazine.

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