Commentary
10:35 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Book Review: Evel Knievel Days

Pauls Toutonghi has a way with words. He writes about the unique circumstances surrounding smart, quirky, and loveable characters. At Watermark, we found his first novel, Red Weather, so endearing that we named a sandwich after it. Toutonghi’s newest book, Evel Knievel Days, features a protagonist named Khosi Saqr from Butte, Montana—Evel Knievel’s hometown. Khosi is an obsessive-compulsive Egyptian-American trying to find his identity. Well, half of his identity, anyway.

The American side of his family is completely known to him. In fact, Khosi knows so much about his great, great grandfather—the Copper King of Montana—that he works as a docent in the family mansion-turned-museum. It’s the Egyptian side that makes him wonder. Even though his Egyptian father skipped out when he was three, his American mother made him take Arabic classes and still cooks her husband’s recipes in her Egyptian catering company.

So, Khosi is 23 years old, still lives with his mother, takes college courses online and hasn’t left Butte since he was a young boy. But when he learns that his father has come and gone, returning only long enough to get divorce papers signed, Khosi decides to put an end to his questions and travel to Cairo to find his identity.

Toutonghi himself is the son of an Egyptian father and a Latvian mother, and through his novels we learn about the cultures in which he was raised. Evel Knievel Days is filled with love and humor, family ties and great food. Toutonghi has another hit on his hands, and we just might have to come up with another sandwich.