Synopses & Reviews
“Thanks to its wicked style and pacing, Mule
lets me forget Im reading serious literature while I follow its terrifying story into the land of the all-American damned.” — Walter Kirn, author of Up in the Air
“Mule is swift, taut, and relentless, both a rip-roaring drug tale and a fascinating portrait of a decent human being whose morals slowly disintegrate under unbearable financial strain.” — Lauren Groff, author of The Monsters of Templeton
James and Kate are golden children of the late twentieth century, flush with opportunity. But an economic downturn and an unexpected pregnancy send them searching for a way to make do. A friend in Californias Siskiyou County grows prime-grade marijuana; if James transports just one load from Cali to Florida, hell pull down enough cash to survive for months. And so begins the life of a mule.
A page-turning, Zeitgeist-capturing novel that plunges us into the criminal underworld with little chance to take a breath, Mule is about young people trying to make do in a moment when the American Dream they never had to believe in — because it was handed to them, fully wrapped and ready to go at the takeout window — suddenly vanishes from the menu.
“With adrenaline-infused sentences and a seat-gripping story line, Mule is a novel that illuminates contemporary American desperation, both its dangerous precipices and its thrilling, overwhelming freedom.” — Dean Bakopoulos, author of My American Unhappiness
"James is a writer living the good life in 'wild and lusty' Austin, Tex., a man who finds himself, 'At thirty... suddenly making and spending money in a way I never had.' But it's not long after he meets Kate, another bright young thing, that 'both of our careers were gone,' casualties of the Great Recession. The couple moves to Northern California, where James meets Kate's old friends and quickly realizes that he could buy their marijuana crop cheap, haul it cross country, and make a tidy profit. Things fall neatly into place as James assumes the middle-man role between his California grower and his Floridian dealer and the money along with big trouble starts pouring in. D'Souza does an admirable job of creating likable characters in James and the people around him, but there's only one way that this narrative can go. Or rather, there are any number of possibilities, but one obvious choice. The same actions pick up drugs, encounter/overcome obstacles, deliver drugs repeated too often, and too much time spent on the road, pushes anything but the basic plot into the background, creating a compelling but anemic read. (Sept.)w" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"An acutely detailed page-turner..."
—Entertainment Weekly "[D'Souza's] authorial voice is sharp and crisp, eschewing flowery prose for a hard-hitting narrative style that perfectly suits the page-turning, drugfueled tale. Fans of Toby Young and Max Barry and those who follow DSouzas magazine work will greatly enjoy the timely, witty, fast-paced Mule."
—Booklist "A smart and bracing ground-level exploration of the drug trade."
—Kirkus "Mule is the sort of novel I love: it solves nothing but explains everything. It also, thanks to its wicked style and pacing, lets me forget Im reading serious literature while I follow its terrifying story into the land of the all-American damned."
—Walter Kirn, author of Up in the Air "Mule is swift, taut, and relentless, both a rip-roaring drug tale and a fascinating portrait of a decent human being whose morals slowly disintegrate under unbearable financial strain. Tony D'Souza proves, yet again, that he is an immensely clever storyteller with plenty of talent to spare."
—Lauren Groff, author of The Monsters of Templeton "With adrenaline-infused sentences and a seat-gripping storyline, Tony DSouza has written one of the first great novels to emerge from our perplexing, endless recession. A heartfelt tale of one familys freefall, Mule is a novel that illuminates contemporary American desperation, both its dangerous precipices and its thrilling, overwhelming freedom."
—Dean Bakopoulos, author of My American Unhappiness
PRAISE FOR WHITEMAN"What makes Whiteman so affecting is DSouzas understanding of what its like to fall in love with people who will never be like you, with a place that will never be home and with a troubled continent thatdespite your best intentionsyou can do nothing to save."PEOPLE (Critics Choice)"Quirky, seductive and funny. The author has acquired the arts of a master storyteller, and each little tale nestled in this novel has an intoxicating, fireside charm."LAURA MILLER, SALON
"[Whiteman] is a subtle but damning response to the assumption that Western aid is all-benevolent."
"The book has a very real, immediate, nonfiction feel to it."
"It's the quality of vision that makes D'Souza's novel notable and, for a first book, unusual."
"Quirky, funny, and seductive... capture[s] a shard of the host country in a way that NGO novels rarely do."
PRAISE FOR WHITEMAN
"Quirky, seductive and funny . . . The author has acquired the arts of a master storyteller, and each little tale nestled in this novel has an intoxicating, fireside charm. Some of the tales are sad, or spooky or bawdy, but all of them seamlessly combine the ancient allure of folklore with a modern, Western literary elegance."--Salon
"It's the quality of vision that makes D'Souza's novel notable and, for a first book, unusual."The New York Times Book Review
"The author, a savvy storyteller with a clear, soulful voice, just knows good source material when he lives it. What he has created--with an appealingly unfashionable simplicity--is a rich, warm, personal yarn... there are so many terrific vignettes to squeeze in... [A]n affectionate exploration of personal identity in order to make sense of conflicting parts--and thus become whole in a multicultural world. In this Age of Obama, the search couldn't be more timely, nor the result more gratifying. A-"
"D'Souza's compelling tale of one extended family's trials and triumphs in a foreign land is an astute glimpse of the challenges, dangers, and rewards of assimilation...He recounts his family's history with a soft heart and a wry, detached tone, unquestioning and accepting of their flaws as well as their accomplishments."
"Every page yields its pleasures--D'Souza is a natural."
"With both humor and pathos, D'Souza has written an engrossing story of characters caught in a clash of past and present from which they can't escape."
"This vibrantly written novel, with colorful descriptions of India and the experiences of new immigrants in America, alternates between the hilarious and the heartbreaking; highly recommended for public and academic libraries."
"D'Souza always maintains focus on his vividly imagined characters and their stories, funny and romantic and heartbreaking as stories told softly to a beloved's ear..."
From an award-winning “savvy storyteller”* comes a page-turning, zeitgeist-capturing novel of a young couple who turn to drug trafficking to make it through the recession.
James and Kate are golden children of the late twentieth century, flush with opportunity. But an economic downturn and an unexpected pregnancy send them searching for a way to make do.
A winter in the mountains of Californias Siskiyou County introduces a tempting opportunity. A friend grows prime-grade marijuana; if James transports just one load from Cali to Florida, hell pull down enough cash to survive for months.
James navigates life as a mule, then a boss—from moneyhungry friends to gun-toting drug lords, from Sacramento to Tallahassee, from just making the weight move cross-country to making thousands of dollars a day. The risks keep rising, forcing him to the next criminal level. A kidnapping, a shootout, a bank vault—it all culminates in a swirl of action.
Absorbing and timely, Mule perfectly captures the anxieties of plunging into the criminal world and of being a young person making do in a moment when the American Dream you never had to believe in—because it was handed to you, fully wrapped and ready to go at the takeout window— suddenly vanishes from the menu.
A novel about the recession generation and a young couple who turn to drug trafficking to make it through.
In an Ivory Coast village where Christians and Muslims are squaring off for war, against a backdrop of bloody conflict and vibrant African life, Jack Diazan American relief workerand Mamadou, his village guardian, learn that hate knows no color and that true heroism waits where we least expect it.During lulls in the violence, Jack learns the cycles of Africaof hunting in the rain forest, cultivating the yam, and navigating the nuances of the language; of witchcraft, storytelling, and chivalry. Despite the omnipresence of AIDS, he courts a stunning Peul girl, meets his neighbors wife in the darkened forest, and desperately pursues the village flirt. Still, Jack spends many nights alone in his hut, longing for love in a place where his skin color excludes him.
Brimming with dangerous passions and the pressures of life in a time of war, Whiteman is a stunning debut and a tale of desire, isolation, humor, action, and fear.
Francisco D'Sai is a firstborn son of a firstborn son—all the way back to the beginning of a long line of proud Konkans. Known as the "Jews of India," the Konkans kneeled before the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama's sword and before Saint Francis Xaviers cross, abandoned their Hindu traditions, and became Catholics. In 1973 Francisco's Konkan father, Lawrence, and American mother, Denise, move to Chicago, where Francisco is born. His father, who does his best to assimilate into American culture, drinks a lot and speaks little. But his mother, who served in the Peace Corps in India, and his uncle Sam (aka Samuel Erasmus D'Sai) are passionate raconteurs who do their best to preserve the family's Konkan heritage. Friends, allies, and eventually lovers, Sam and Denise feed Franciscos imagination with proud visions of India and Konkan history.
Filled with romance, comedy, and masterful storytelling, The Konkans leaves us surprised by what secrets history may hold for us if only we wonder enough to look.
About the Author
Tony DSouza is the author of three novels, including the award-winning Whiteman. He has contributed to The New Yorker, Playboy, Esquire, Outside, Salon, Granta, McSweeneys, O. Henry Prize Stories, Best American Fantasy, and elsewhere. A recipient of the Sue Kaufman Prize, Florida Gold and Silver Medals for fiction, and fellowships from the Guggenheim and the NEA, Tony was nominated for a National Magazine Award for coverage of Nicaraguas Eric Volz murder trial and spent three years in Africa with the Peace Corps.