Short Story Month Celebration: Derek Mascarenhas

Coconut Dreams by Derek Mascarenhas

Our Short Story Month Celebration continues with Derek Mascarenhas, author of Coconut Dreams.

Mascarenhas’ debut collection 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. 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.

Kim Echlin, author of Under the Visible Life, writes that “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.” Alissa York, author of The Naturalist, calls the book “a moving, multifaceted debut.”

Mascarenhas reads an excerpt from “The Elephant in the Mountain,” a story from the collection, in the following video:

(Save 25% off all short story collections from Book*hug Press, including Coconut Dreams, until May 31. Please follow along all month as we celebrate short stories by sharing excerpts and readings on the Book*hug blog. Follow us as well on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.)

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.