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Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall
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Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  87 ratings  ·  17 reviews
A wonderful debut, this funny yet sad novel recounts a young man's attempt--as father, husband, and son--to put together the pieces of an ordinary, and at the same time, very puzzling life.
Hardcover, 187 pages
Published May 7th 1996 by Knopf
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Okay. Let me rephrase that.



I'm either too smart, or not smart enough for this book. (Yeah, I know. It's probably the second one.)

That's what I get for choosing a book solely because it looked like a fast read and I'm sick to death of goodreads reminding me daily that I'm already behind on my challenge.

Anyway, the book consists of short little snippets - thought balloons from one man's mind. He's married to Tutti and has a little boy. He seems befuddled and passes that uncertainty ont
Edward Rathke
Another book where I'm not exactly sure what to rate it. In some ways it's a frustrating novel because it lacks cohesion or movement or any sort of progression. Even the sentences are in this sort of stilted repetitious style. But, at the same time, it's interesting and peculiar enough to keep you reading. I finished the whole thing in two sittings and never felt bored or strained at reading it, but it'd be hard for me to really say what it is I read.

Not a novel. Not even intending to be one, de
It's hard to say what I might think of this book. It's there. I read it. Twice, actually. And thinking about a third time. What it is about this book? There's no plot. There's no building of suspense. There seems to be no reason for it having been written in the first place. It's more like a photograph of book. Or maybe a pencil sketch. Or one of those amazing, 3-D drawings that one guys does on the sidewalk in big cities, where there's a cave or a cavern that someone sitting near it seems to be ...more
I find a book on my kitchen table. It is thin and orange and has some kind of pseudo-retro cover art. My son says it is his. He says he checked it out from the university library. He says he likes this kind of book. Outside the kitchen window, I see the bird feeder leaning in the yard.
Inside the book are little slips of paper torn from a bigger piece of paper. They are marking certain pages and sometimes they fall out as I read this book. I wonder what these pieces of paper are marking as each
I don't know how or why I picked this up, but I'm glad I did, if only for the handful of vignettes that I thought were really amazing. Unfortunately, a lot of them were offset by scenes that struck me as being not done or not really well considered.

I'm not the right kind of reader for this book, because it's a lot of seemingly disconnected flash fiction-y moments strung together, suggestive of meaning. I'm a cynic. Sometimes when someone hands me a story or a book full of stuff like that, I thi
Josh Luft
Ken Sparling's fantastically titled Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall is a novel about a modern family man--his feelings, actions, responsibilities--comprised entirely of vignettes. The vignettes, ranging in size from a few pages to a single sentence, are often domestic and mundane scenes. However, by using vignettes, the scenes feel plucked from the protagonist's life, out of context, alien and surreal. This style works perfectly with the narrative, as the protagonist, "Ken Sparling," has a disco ...more
This isn't the sort of book you're supposed to be ambivalent about. This is the sort of book that you're supposed to love or hate. I love the idea of it, the shape of it, but the language just didn't speak to me. I wanted it to be beautiful or true or punch-my-gut familiar-I wanted it to resonate-but it only ever got close, sometimes.
This book isn't for everyone. It moves in clips and broken pieces that thread together haphazardly but in a beautiful way. Some of the clips are just heartbreakingly beautiful, some made me laugh, others I had to reread because they were so profound. Because of the repetition of certain sentence elements or words, because of the switching between 1st and 3rd person (there is even some second person in there), a lot of readers will be thinking "wtf?". I'd urge those readers to stick it out. There ...more
Nov 25, 2012 Gabriel added it
Shelves: 2012
Eventually, she said, you'll have to leave. You'll have to leave, and I'll have to leave. We'll both have to leave.

But as we leave, she said, we'll both be leaving. You'll be leaving and I'll be leaving. But, she said, we won't, each of us, be leaving the other. It won't be an exponential kind of leaving, where the one leaves the other and the other leaves the one, and there's a leaving of one from the other and the other from the one. It will be more a concurrent kind of leaving of everybody fr
Jason Lee
I read somewhere somebody called this book an anti-novel. I definitely agree that it is anti the typical novel story structure. I also like how Sparling himself describes the book as being like a beautiful tree. People would never ask, "what is the tree about? What's the rising action?" They would just enjoy the tree for being what it is: a beautiful tree.
Dad Says... is a beautiful book. It reflects on a life in the tiny fragments of memory that one accumulates over time. Memories of childhood,
Like a lot of folks who've commented on this book (what can rightly be referred to as a cult classic / and impossible to read without feeling the influence it has had on dozens of writers of the alt and indie set) this book is hard to comment on in very many concrete terms. I can say for my taste, this was perfect. I WISH more of the contemporary folks were as thoughtful with their slice-of-life fragments of narrative. Hard to read without appreciating the odd and often deadpan humor of the work ...more
It took a bit to get used to. I'm not used to reading paragraphs of random thoughts that don't really connect to each other, and don't really make a story. I found it easier to read if I read it as poetry, which in a way it was--where each paragraph was its own separate entity, only sometimes kind of relating to another poem/paragraph/entity in another part of the book.
Charlie Geoghegan-Clements
Great great book. For fans of terse, sparse, essentially plotless fiction that borders on aphorism yet packs a really dark sense of humor and is really fucking sad. Reminds me of Gary Lutz
Enjoyed this, but had to return it to the library before I got all the way through. May come back to it at some point. Don't have any specific thoughts right now.
I am currently rereading this. I think I liked it the first time.
He's my guru, basically. Forever in debt.
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