From Tulsa to New Delhi to BookPeople

Benjamin Lytal, Karan Mahajan, and two stories of place

From Tulsa to New Delhi to BookPeople

People from Austin know as well as anyone: A place isn't the same once you've returned to it.

In the opening section of Benjamin Lytal's debut novel, A Map of Tulsa (Penguin, 272 pp., $15 [paper]), protagonist Jim rediscovers his hometown during the summer after his freshman year of college. He's in that malleable stage, and in a place both foreign and familiar – one that practically is a character unto itself.

But what's most notable about his journey through these places is his guide, the unlikeliest of teachers, Adrienne: well-heeled daughter of a petroleum family, high school drop-out, aspiring painter.

In part II, he returns home again, under entirely different circumstances but ultimately with that same guide. It is a story, as the back-flap states, as much "about young love as it is a love letter to a classic American city."

And then, halfway around the world, there's New Delhi, the frenetic capital city at the center of in Karan Mahajan's 2008 novel Family Planning (Harper, 288 pp., $13.95 [paper]), hailed as "genuinely funny" and "profound" at the time of its release.

Two stories, two cities, two praised young authors, one night at BookPeople. Hear from both tomorrow night, and maybe on your way home, take a closer look at this city you call home.

Benjamin Lytal and Karan Mahajan appear tomorrow night, March 28, 7pm, at BookPeople (603 N. Lamar). The event is free and open to the public, but signing will be restricted to those who purchased their books from BookPeople.

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