New Local Author publishes a book of Short Stories
While taking an unplanned diversion to transfer a purchase from a food vendor to the safety of the shade of my car during the Goan Overseas Association – Toronto’s Viva Goa 2019, I noticed a small folding table erected at the very edge of the parking lot. There were books in small neat stacks, and the person standing there looked familiar. It was Derek Mascarenhas, a young local Goan Author.
I had placed the announcement the launch of his book on Goa Culture List earlier in the year, but due to a prior engagement was unable to attend. What a surprise. He was too was a little taken aback, someone had recognized him.
‘I did a book reading earlier in the day,’ he said. I take it the effort was sparsely attended.
‘You are not on the main strip,’ I quipped, ‘Sadly they don’t give discounts for tables. Even so, the music is blasted so loud, you wouldn’t comfortably be able to speak to potential readers.’
Derek Mascarenhas has recently published a book comprising of a collection of 17- short stories. The 272 page book is tilted, Coconut Deams. It is his first book.
In a recent review the Canadian magazine focused on the book and publishing industry, Quill and Quire, wrote, ‘Mascarenhas is brilliant in capturing the first-generation immigrant experience, with attention given to the particularities of being a South Asian kid growing up in a mostly white suburban town. The innocence of childhood is mired in the depths of something unseen but deeply felt.’
The warm stories revolve around the lives of a young Aiden and Ally Pinto. The reoccurring characters and their Goan family live in the cozy and green community of Burlington, nestled comfortably between the bustling urban city life of Toronto and the industry of Hamilton. The stories are fiction but they certainly accurately depict the tone and small challenges of Canadian Goan family life in a middle-class neighbourhood during the 1980’s, 90’s and 2000’s.
Derek Mascarenhas is a graduate of the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies Creative Writing Program, he has been a finalist for the Penguin Random House of Canada Student Award for Fiction, and was nominated for the Marina Nemat Award. His fiction has been published in a growing list of magazines and journals including, Joyland, The Dalhousie Review, Switchback, Maple Tree Literary Supplement, Cosmonauts Avenue, and The Antigonish Review.
The stories included in Coconut Dreams are charming. Mascarenhas’ writing is polished. He uses the literary technique of jumping between points of view. He seamlessly inhabits the bodies and points of eyes of different characters, switching between male and female characters with ease. His story-lines revolve around light dramas that build to a level of intensity and are never stretched to be overly dramatic. The stories are simple, bright, and fresh. The collection hangs together with a good gist of cohesiveness.
Mascarenhas is a traveler. He is intrepid backpacker who has hiked in six continents. This means he is versed in the art of planning ahead, being well organized, traveling light, choose a basic kit wisely, and the importance of investing in sturdy comfortable shoes. I can see honing this kind of discipline has informed his writing. His work is well crafted.
Canadians love to read, and they love short stories. Coconut Dreams, which includes a few episodes set in Goa, has been very well received. This year, Derek Mascarenhas has been invited to both the Toronto International Festival of Authors and the Vancouver Writers Festival. That’s quite an achievement for a young writer.
Plan to seek out and meet Mr. Mascarenhas at The Word on the Street, Toronto’s tremendously popular Festival of Books and Magazines, on September 22th 2019.
Support this author. Pick up a copy of his well-written book. You will enjoy the reading.
Albert Peres, photo and interview | firstname.lastname@example.org
Coconut Dreams – stories
Author: Derek Mascarenhas
Format: Trade paperback. 272 pages. (c) 2019
Available in: Softcover, Kindle
Copies now available in Canada.
CONTACT: Goa Culture List using the Product Information Request Form to send a note to the Book Author