Beneath Thin Skin – BC Bookworld feature
In BC’s Bookworld Summer Issue: a brief blurb and mini-interview on my new book.
Beneath Thin Skin
Possibly B.C.’s only Angolan-born author, paulo da costa was raised in Vale de Cambra, Portugal and arrived in Canada in 1989. Having won Best First Book, Canada & Caribbean Region of the Commonwealth Writers Prize 2003, the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize in 2002 and the Canongate Prize for Short-Fiction in 2001, da costa moved to B.C. in 2003 and now lives on Vancouver Island. His stories have been translated to Italian, Chinese, Spanish, Serbian, Slovenian and Portuguese.
His new fiction collection is The Green and Purple Skin of the World (Freehand $21.95) looks at what drives families apart and what forces them back together. A son tries to convince his aging mother to accept a new IKEA table. A passionate soccer fan shares his near-religious fervor with his young boy. A nine-year-old, certain she’s adopted, runs away from home and tells her stuffed rabbit, Carrot, that it’s not as easy to run away as she thought, especially when she suspects someone is following her. In private life, a man writes one-sided letters to his beloved as their relationship ruptures; another man ponders the positions of predator and prey with a cougar in a West Coast forest.
We are fragile creatures, breakable, repairable.
Da costa says, “If we desire effective change in the destructive ways we relate to each other as communities and nations, if we desire to change the destructive ways we relate to the larger web of life on the planet and cosmos, we must first understand how we begin to fail each other in the realm of the personal and of the family life.
“The personal is political is a motto that has always captivated me. In The Green and Purple Skin of the World I wanted to explore how we often experience our first betrayals and invisibilities, or first experience the absence of modeled patterns of empathy and understanding, in the emotional cradle of family and private life.
“We carry on later, failing to understand and protect the most vulnerable who will cross our paths, and often, we will abuse our circumstantial power to fulfill personal wants at another being’s expense. It is often within the home where we first learn how not to care, and to ignore the harm we inflict on others.”
The Green and Purple Skin of the World (Freehand $21.95)