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.
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.
“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.” — Quill & Quire
“Coconut Dreams is a story collection that reads like a novel” — Jade Colbert, The Globe and Mail
“An epic work in short-story form, Derek Mascarenhas’ Coconut Dreams transcends space, time and culture in [these] interconnected tales” — Postmedia
“Coconut Dreams signals the arrival of a new Canadian voice that is singular, necessary, and hard to forget.” —Humber Literary Review
“Mascarenhas excels at considered character building and traditional storytelling skills.” —Andrew MacDonald, Event Magazine