Episode 98 — Pauls Toutonghi


Pauls Toutonghi is today’s guest.  He’s the author of two novels, the latest of which is called Evel Knievel Days, now available from Crown Books.

Kirkus, in a starred review, calls it

[A] superb literary effort….With writing both gently ironical and outright funny, the author’s extraordinary talent draws readers into the world of Butte and Cairo. More entertainingly, his characters are both believable and appealing, especially Khosi’s Egyptian aunts, their drill-sergeant housekeeper and the everyday people he meets. Brilliantly imagined. Artfully written. Superbly entertaining.

And Garth Stein 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. A funny, heart-warming, compulsively readable novel about the unbreakable bonds of family — and baklava. This is one you shouldn’t miss. Terrific!

Topics of conversation include:  Airbnb, road trips, axe murderers, book tour, Gillian Welch, Boise, authenticity, country music, college radio, record stores, parenthood, Elmo, Feist, ballet, Egypt, Footloose, Christianity, writer’s block, classical music, immigration, poverty, Manhattan, oil, French, Latvia, solitude, teaching, similes, Alain de Botton, architecture, first drafts, wireless keyboards, time, procrastination, discipline, Seattle, Beethoven, goth, Jay Parini, role models, agents, Book magazine, rejection, stress, breakdowns, love, Granta, bullshit, and sleep.

Monologue topics:  travel, airports, Indiana, nostalgia, family, birthdays, Israel, my novel.