Tony D'Souza Reports from the Road
Some times the best things happen to the nicest, most talented people, and that's definitely true when it comes to Tony D'Souza, as dynamic, friendly, and gifted writer as you're likely to discover. The Konkans is his new critically acclaimed novel about a somewhat messed up family. It's funny, wise, and bittersweet, and an interesting comment on the immigrant experience. Mostly, though, it's riddled through with stories, great details, and brilliant character studies. One thing about D'Souza's fiction--it displays an essential generosity without being sentimental or soft.
Right now D'Souza's in the middle of "thirty-three stops on The Konkans tour." I checked in on D'Souza to quiz him about pivotal moments in his current book tour, to quiz him about pivotal moments in his current book tour, which features a "mix of colleges, bookstores, and the odd bar. Well, lots of bars, but I actually read in one, Stain Bar in New York City."
Favorite Meal: "A dozen oysters on the half shell and two glasses of super cold pinot grigio all by myself on a sunny afternoon in the Castro District. Nothing like catching a breather and a buzz before a reading!"
Worst Meal: "Honestly? At the College of Wooster in Ohio. A few senior English students took me for lunch to their cafeteria. The entree was penne pasta with sun dried tomatoes, but somehow they had managed to sun dry everything. I asked one of the students if it was always like that. He nodded as he chewed and said, 'Oh yeah.'"
Favorite Fan Comment: "Dr. John de Figueiredo at Yale says that I am, ...a reincarnation of Chekov and the Portuguese writer Eca de Queiroz, and better than both of them combined.' The parents of a student of mine from when I was teaching recently wrote me, '[Our son] loved your class, and he respected you as an instructor and friend. You were the catalyst, the critic,and the inspiration our son...needed to find his passion and believe in himself. You challenged and encouraged him in all the right ways. We are happy to say that he will be graduating from [college] this term with a BA in creative writing and a minor in literature." [And] I always like it when people say they loved The Man Who Married a Tree [from McSweeney's]. That happens every third reading or so and always catches me off-guard."
Favorite Unexpected Moment: "Seeing my novels on the front table of Books Inc, UN Plaza San Francisco, and right beside them the poetry collections of Daniel Tobin. I was reading on a Friday and Dan was slated to read on Sunday. Dan was my very first writing teacher when I was at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as an undergrad. Now Dan directs the writing and publishing program at Emerson College. We've published side by side in places like Black Warrior Review over the years, but it was very cool to see our books together on the front table of that store as the featured authors."
Worst Travel Moment: "Well, I get a lot of support from my publisher, but I'm no best seller so I take the bus to appearances. I had a 7 p.m. reading at Newtonville Books as part of their popular Books and Brews series in Newton, a suburb of Boston. I took the T out there from where I was staying with friends in Harvard Square, little did I know the bookstore was two miles from the T station. No big deal, but it was below zero with the wind chill and I was dressed for Austin, not Boston. So I covered my ears with my hands and hoofed it. The whole way I thought about how lucky I was to have the opportunity to be that cold. Seriously."
Nicest Gesture: "Too many. A fan in Los Angeles gave me a rattle and bib for our baby. A struggling writer insisted on buying me a meal at Charlie's Kitchen in Boston. Friends have put me up everywhere. But my fiancee Jessyka putting up with all the traveling is the sweetest gesture of all and always will be."
Find out more about upcoming appearances by D'Souza by visiting his website.