It’s a tale as old as time: doomed romance, bloody revenge, fast food, and the voice of God. Welcome to Tyler Parker’s Oklahoma, and one of the most anticipated debut novels of the year from one of our best, funniest new writers.
Check out Sylvia Table: he drives a seafoam-green 1968 Ranchero, owns a badass sword, and is one dead uncle away from an inheritance that should set him and the love of his life, Lady Sixkiller, on the road to easy living and the family she’s always wanted. Sure, he may not be cut out for any kind of conventional job, but as long as Lady can hold things down as a waitress until rich old Methuselah shuffles off this mortal coil, what’s the big deal? Yes, things are looking good for Sylvia Table, aka Big Noise, aka Grandest Poobah, aka Big Quiche.
But uncles don’t always die on schedule, maternal clocks keep ticking with increasing urgency, doing crimes beats working for a living, and the past refuses to stay buried. In this case, the past takes the form of Priscilla Blackwood, a woman locked in an eternal one-sided conversation with Jesus Christ Himself, and dead set on enacting vengeance for the murder of her father, which she witnessed as a little girl. Whether Table knows it or not, he’s on a collision course with an avenging angel who believes she’s got the Lord on her side.
Combining the linguistic punch of Elmore Leonard, the living landscapes of Cormac McCarthy, and the comic soul of Charles Portis, A Little Blood and Dancing announces Tyler Parker as one of our most extraordinary new voices.
About the Author
TYLER PARKER holds an MFA in fiction from Columbia University, where in 2016 he was the recipient of the Felipe P. De Alba Fellowship for Writers. While there, he studied under Sam Lipsyte, Paul Beatty, Richard Ford, and Rivka Galchen. He is a staff writer for The Ringer and, in a previous life, studied improv comedy at both iO and Second City in Chicago. Born and raised in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, Parker now lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two daughters.
“Broke my heart and hurt my stomach. And I laughed the whole time. Can't stop thinking about it.” —E.R. Fightmaster, Grey's Anatomy, Shrill
"The hardest task in literature is writing a truly funny book that makes you feel something, not just from the characters and what they do and say, but also from the sentences and how they feel new and full of energy. Only the most ambitious writers even try to do this and it's remarkable and even edifying to see a writer like Tyler Parker do it all with such style." —Jay Caspian Kang, author of The Dead Do Not Improve and The Loneliest Americans,staff writer at The New Yorker
“For as long as I can remember, I've been a hopeless book addict. A good book is one of life’s special pleasures. Tyler Parker has gone and written a great book and I will never forgive him for enabling my addiction.” —Jason Concepcion, writer, host of X-Ray Vision
“With his explosive debut novel, Tyler Parker delivers the literary equivalent of smashing a beer sign with a pool cue. It’s a story that swirls with grit and glitter, God and pork butt, stale cigarettes and fresh wounds. Parker’s Oklahoma buzzes with tension, a fitting backdrop for his idiosyncratic personas and their bad, bad choices. But however gnarly, Parker has also graced his characters with a childlike tenderness. Meaning, you’ll be quickly smitten with these earnest weirdos as they love, lose, and grapple with the fallout from catastrophes of their own making. Their ambitions, their hurts, their bone-deep feelings all left me gasping as I turned the last few pages. Bonus: It’s also damn funny. There’s no doubt about it: A Little Blood and Dancing is a real humdinger, one that I burned through far too quickly.” —Ariel Dumas, Head Writer and Supervising Producer, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
“Tyler Parker rhapsodizes a lush electric yarn of pop culture, basketball, neon-Jesus, and a simmering violence that is distinctly American. A Little Blood and Dancing is an everlasting gobstopper of a book!” —Lilly Wachowski, filmmaker, The Matrix
"A Little Blood and Dancing is majestic and down-and-dirty and unstoppably funny and deeply sad. Tyler Parker is what they call in basketball a unicorn: he can do it all. I haven’t been this riveted, thrilled and broken open by a novel in a long time." —Sam Lipsyte, author of No One Left to Come Looking for You and The Ask
"Tyler Parker is an enchanting writer. In A Little Blood and Dancing he takes a landscape most often seen through the passenger window of a speeding car and carves it up like a Jack-o-Lantern. The banality of familiarity is transformed into something grinning, haunting, hilarious and new. These characters are as bombastic as they are believable, crafted with love, a deft hand and true empathy down to the very last scheme. I've read the new classics by the old masters of American fun, and recognized greatness even if it never landed in my generationally distant soul. This lands. Tyler Parker is Elmore Leonard with a Dream Shake and a cracked iPod Nano." —Ian Karmel, head writer of The Late Late Show with James Corden
“Tyler Parker is one of the funniest writers alive, but A Little Blood and Dancing is also a book of deep and surprising tenderness. The best comic novelists know how to laugh at their characters without belittling them, and if this book is anything to go by, Parker has mastered this magic trick. His cast of screwball Oklahomans is so weird, vulnerable, gentle, violent, hopeful, and lost that it wouldn’t be out of place in real life. I loved it.” —Brian Phillips, author of Impossible Owls
"Tyler Parker shows us how the weird, the beautiful, the terrible, and the generous all nestle up together inside a human heart. And he’s also very, very funny. I love every page of this novel." —Rivka Galchen, author of Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch