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Dzanc Books is nonprofit press specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction. In addition to publishing activities, Dzanc Books also supports the Disquiet International Literary Program.

Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall, by Ken Sparling

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Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall, by Ken Sparling

sparling - Dad Says - Front Cover.jpg
sparling - Dad Says - Front Cover.jpg

Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall, by Ken Sparling

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From Ken Sparling’s intro: “When someone asked me what Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall was about, it felt like I’d seen a beautiful tree and struggled to describe it to someone, only to have that someone say: ‘Yes, but what is the tree about?’ You wouldn’t know how to answer that question. It isn’t the right question. The tree wasn't ever about anything. It was just beautiful.”


“When I first read it as a young writer, Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall was my bible. I read it, reread it, and even read it to other people. It felt like a revelation, a master’s class in writing. It taught me it was still possible to create a kind of literature that was utterly new, and all these years later it still stands alone as a novel unlike any I’ve ever read.Dad Says rips the veil off our most private thoughts and gives voice to the feelings we spend most of our lives trying to repress or just plain ignore. With economy, tenderness, and great humor, Sparling not only lays to waste our notions about what a novel can be, but also what being in the world can be. This is a brutal book.” —Jonathan Goldstein

“Ken Sparling’s 1996 classic might have been out of print for almost a decade and a half, but its virtuosities have hardly been forgotten and have hardly gone unloved to death. What a joy it is, though, to see this piercingly funny, nervous, and thrillingly sad novel-in-fragments available at last for a new generation of readers to discover its loopy domestic lyricism of the shifting lonelinesses and companionate spells at the heart of contemporary marriage. I envy anyone reading Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall for the first time.” —Gary Lutz

“Back in 1996, Ken Sparling published a novel that was unlike any novel I had ever read before and I was amazed by what he had done. That novel was Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall. It’s years later now and I’m still amazed by the book every time I re-read it.” —Michael Kimball



Ken Sparling is a writer. He works in a library in Toronto. He has written six novels. His latest is Intention, Implication, Wind from Pedlar Press. His first, Dad Says He Saw You at the Mall, published by Knopf in 1996 will be reissued by Mud Luscious Press in August.