Monday, July 23, 2012

Pauls Toutonghi Reads July 25th

We hope you can join us at 7 pm on Wednesday, July 25th, to hear local author Pauls Toutonghi read from and discuss his recently published novel, Evel Knievel Days.

Toutonghi was born in 1976 to an Egyptian father and a Latvian mother. His writing has appeared in Granta, The New York Times, Zoetrope: All-Story, The Boston Review, Five Chapters, One Story, Sports Illustrated, Book Magazine, The Rumpus, and numerous other periodicals. He received a Pushcart Prize for his short story, Regeneration. His first novel, Red Weather, which tells the story of a young man with Latvian immigrant parents, growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, came out from Random House in 2006

His most recent book, and the book he'll be reading from on Wednesday, is Evel Knievel Days. This coming-of-age novel introduces us to twenty-year-old Khosi Saqr, half-Egyptian, being raised by a single mother, and living in Butte, Montana. Butte is the hometown of motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel. Deciding that he doesn't fit in in a town of people who can't pronounce his name, he decides to take his own Knievel-like risk and go to Egypt in a search for his father -- and for his own identity. What he discovers in Cairo is much more startling than he expected it to be.

Portland/Miami author Diana Abu-Jaber had this to say about the book: "Beautifully written, Evel Knievel Days takes readers on a wry, irresistible journey. Toutonghi has written a spellbinding novel full of heart and startling humor."

Benjamin Percy, author of the Oregon-based novel The Wilding says, "This coming-of-age story spans the globe -- from an Evel Knievel festival in Butte, Montana, to the protests in Tahrir Square. Evel Knievel Days enchants the reader with its ghosts, recipes, and plucky, know-it-all hypochondriac of a narrator -- and his travels in search of his father and himself."

And the irrepressible Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain says, "Evel Knievel Days is so good, I want to dress it up in a star-spangled jumpsuit, leap it over the pyramids of Giza on a Laverda American Eagle 750cc motorcycle, and watch it stick its landing before an audience of millions in downtown Butte, Montana. This is one you shouldn't miss."

After receiving his PhD in English Literature from Cornell University, Pauls moved to Portland, where he is a professor of English at Lewis & Clark College. He and his wife have two-year-old twins. He has taught a class on the rock 'n' roll novel at the college and is a big fan of early blues, early early folk, and old country music, including songs by Kitty Wells, who passed away this week at the age of 92.

Recently, Jeff Baker wrote about Pauls in The Oregonian's "Where I Write" series. He was also recently interviewed by Dave Miller for OPB's Think Out Loud program. Alan Cheuse reviewed the book for NPR's All Things Considered. If you are unable to attend the reading, you can purchase his books from us through our website.

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