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.
In these stories, Derek Mascarenhas takes a fresh look at the world of the new immigrant and the South Asian experience in Canada, as 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.
"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, Perfecting, and The Nettle Spinner.
"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
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.