Coconut Dreams by Derek Mascarenhas

Coconut Dreams by Derek Mascarenhas

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Literary Fiction / Short Stories
Publication Date: April 15, 2019
272 pages
8 x 5.25 inches
ISBN 9781771664813

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Coconut Dreams explores the lives of the Pinto family through seventeen linked short stories. Starting with a ghost story set in Goa, India in the 1950s, the collection weaves through various timelines and perspectives to focus on two children, Aiden and Ally Pinto. These siblings tackle their adventures in a predominantly white suburb with innocence, intelligence and a timid foot in two distinct cultures. Derek Mascarenhas takes a fresh look at the world of the new immigrant and the South Asian experience in Canada. In these stories, a daughter questions her father’s love at an IKEA grand opening; an aunt remembers a safari-gone-wrong in Kenya; an uncle’s unrequited love is confronted at a Goan Association picnic; a boy tests his faith amidst a school-yard brawl; and a childhood love letter is exchanged during the building of a backyard deck. Singularly and collectively, these stories will move the reader with their engaging narratives and authentic voices.

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Praise for Coconut Dreams:

“This charming collection of stories resides between a suburban childhood in Canada and inherited, often mythic, tales from Goa that belong to the elders. Characters decide on love with rings lost at sea and soothe babies with stories of elephants in mountains. The voices in these stories are from people who seem far away and yet are inside us. Prepare to be delighted.”
—Kim Echlin, author of Under the Visible Life

“The stories in Derek Mascarenhas’s Coconut Dreams remind one of the high stakes in a child’s world, the way that danger looms just fractionally outside safety. Like all proper enchantments, these vignettes are dark, light, strange, and vivid such that they delight and charm in equal portions.”
—Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, author of All the Broken Things

“In this evocative collection, Derek Mascarenhas takes up the fictional Pinto family and turns it gently in his hands, revealing new truths—and new questions—with every shift in point of view. A moving, multifaceted debut.”
—Alissa York, author of The Naturalist

Press Coverage for Coconut Dreams:

Spring Preview 2019: Short fiction, poetry, and novels in translation —Quill & Quire

Most Anticipated: Our Spring 2019 Fiction Preview —49th Shelf

‘Picking Trilliums’: An excerpt from Coconut Dreams by Derek Mascarenhas —Rungh

Talking Coconut Dreams with Derek Mascarenhas —, SAD Magazine

‘So Far Away’: A short story from the book Coconut Dreams by Derek Mascarenhas —The Unpublishables

Read an excerpt from Derek Mascarenhas’s new short story collection —Rabble

“Author Derek Mascarenhas, the son of Goan immigrants who settled in Burlington, has captured a world he knows well.” —Sarah Murdoch, The Toronto Star

“Mascarenhas writes with precision, shifting from one character’s perspective to another’s with an ease that is admirable and engrossing. What is most fascinating about these stories is their accuracy at depicting ways in which children come to understand painful truths: often accidentally, sometimes the hard way.” —Sheniz Janmohamed, Quill and Quire

“An epic work in short-story form, Derek Mascarenhas’ Coconut Dreams transcends space, time and culture in [these] interconnected tales… Mascarenhas imbues his stories with human connection, whether through chance encounters, brief friendships or unbreakable family bonds.” —Postmedia

“Coconut Dreams is a story collection that reads like a novel.” Jade Colbert, The Globe and Mail

Coconut Dreams signals the arrival of a new Canadian voice that is singular, necessary, and hard to forget.” Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Humber Literary Review

‘I believe a good story is universal’: An Interview with Derek Mascarenhas Christine Machado, The Navhind Times

The Space Between 49th Shelf

Getting to Know Coconut Dreams Author Derek Mascarenhas: Bloody Noses, Scars & Cozy Sweaters Open Book

11 Books that Write the World 49th Shelf

9 Canadian short story collections to read during Short Story Month CBC Books

Rowers Online: An author Q&A with Derek Mascarenhas Rowers Reading Series

Fallen Leaves: An Excerpt of Derek Mascarenhas’ Coconut Dreams PRISM International

Sally Cooper Reviews Derek Mascarenhas’s Coconut Dreams Hamilton Review of Books

Why Derek Mascarenhas wrote a short story collection about growing up South Asian in Canadian suburbia CBC Books

Bright Books for Sunny Days: 2019 Summer Recommended Reading List Writers’ Trust of Canada

Canadian Goans Write Back Selma Carvalho, Joao-Rocque Literary Journal

2019 Best Books of the Year: Recommended Reading Lists —Jenny Heijun Wills, Writers’ Trust of Canada

Our Top Fiction of 2019 49th Shelf

The Best Reads from Canada’s Small Presses This Year Jade Colbert, The Globe and Mail

“Mascarenhas excels at considered character building and traditional storytelling skills.” —Andrew MacDonald, Event Magazine

Writers As Readers: May 2020 Writer-in-Residence Derek Mascarenhas on His Favourite Books Open Book

“Mascarenhas has said that he wants South Asians to feel seen in his work and I trust that they will, as I did, but there is something for every reader in this book. With Coconut Dreams, Derek Mascarenhas has proven himself to be a voice to watch in CanLit.” Shailee Koranne, Looseleaf Magazine

Dreaming of Goa: Interview with Derek Mascarenhas Ricepaper Magazine

“Mascarenhas’ writing is direct, descriptive, accessible, and alluring, and he allows his readers to easily walk alongside his characters on their journeys towards self-discovery.” Lydia Forssander-Song, Canadian Literature

Derek Mascarenhas is a graduate of the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies Creative Writing Program, a finalist and runner-up for the Penguin Random House of Canada Student Award for Fiction, and a nominee for the Marina Nemat Award. His fiction has been published in places such as Joyland, The Dalhousie Review, Switchback, Maple Tree Literary Supplement, Cosmonauts Avenue, and The Antigonish Review. Derek is one of four children born to parents who emigrated from Goa, India, and settled in Burlington, Ontario. A backpacker who has traveled across six continents, Derek currently resides in Toronto. Coconut Dreams is his first book.

Additional information

Dimensions 8 × 5.25 in
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