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ZEN MASTER TOVA TARANTINO TOSHIBA: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire ~ Gabriel Constans

Monday, December 15th, 2014

How do you handle Satire?   This is a very tongue in cheek lesson reference the arrival of Buddhism to China and one needs a keen wit and a good twinkle in the eye for these lessons, koans, and questions!  What a Zen Master to discover!

ZEN MASTER TOVA TARANTINO TOSHIBA is Amazon Editor’s pick for Book of the Month and if you like satire you will not be disappointed by making this choice.

What the editors said on Amazon’s site:

“This fictional short-story collection challenges perceptions and illusions about religious masters, spiritual teachers, gurus, charlatans and holy men and women of all persuasions, while simultaneously tickling our funny bone and exercising the muscles our faces rely on for laughter. Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba takes liberty with questionable material from the living sea, near Egypt; tofu paper, in Okinawa; a tomb, in Italy; a shaman, in Ethiopia; and a half-sister, in India. The words, quotes, koans and stories, of this soon to be classical work, include the timeless insights of Let the Worm’s Go, Dead Food, Reality Bites, Stealing the Buddha, Drip After Drip, Sound of One Eye, Catching Wind, Looking Good, My Cat’s Enlightened, Chocolate Box, and Sex, Drugs and Sushi Rolls.

“Enlightenment or laughs? With Gabriel Constans’ book you don’t have to choose. Zen masters usually have a sense of humor, or need one. Gabriel’s got it, and he gives us a world of illusions to laugh about.” Bob Fenster, author of Duh: The Stupid History of the Human Race “

Truly I am having difficulty writing this review, because I start to say something and then dive back into a story and get lost in laughing or crying over a concept explanation or questionable answer.  My Kindle says the book is about 2 hours of reading, but I dare you to read it cover to cover.   Why I just had to deal with my health insurance company and ended the call by picking up this book and learning about Wandering and Meditation by relentless napping.  I just think you should get this book and then do not drink anything while reading the chapters randomly.

Gabriel Constans biography on Amazon:

“Gabriel’s latest works of fiction are THE LAST CONCEPTION and ZEN MASTER TOVA TARANTINO TOSHIBA: THE ILLUSTRIOUS AND DELUSIONAL ABBESS OF SATIRE. Previous fiction includes BUDDHA’S WIFE, SAINT CATHERINE’S BABY, THE SKIN OF LIONS, and JUST A HEARTBEAT AWAY.

He has written for numerous magazines, newspapers and journals throughout North America, Europe, Africa and Asia; has 13 books published in the U.S. and continues to discover great stories, provide editing and consultation services and write fiction and non-fiction. His latest work of non-fiction is DON’T JUST SIT THERE, DO SOMETHING: GRIEF’S WAKE UP CALL.

Dr. Constans has worked as a trauma counselor in a variety of situations and environments, most notably with local and international non-profit organizations such as hospice, the coroner’s office, hospitals, state prisons, the ROP Center for Street Children and the Ihangane Project (both in Rwanda).

His classes and books on grief, loss, hope and transformation, can be found at The Figley Institute and Quantum Continuing Education Online.

Gabriel’s favorite writers include Deena Metzger, Isabel Allende, Wallace Stegner, Toni Morrison, Bell Hooks, Zora Neale Hurston, Dave Eggers, Ann Petry, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Alice Walker, Barbara Kingslover, Joan Tewkesbury and James Bladwin.

Oh yes!  Constans sent me a copy of his book for review – Lucky me!

I highly recommend this book, I enjoyed this book, I will return to re-read this book often, I so enjoy this kind of humor and I know you know someone who needs a great laugh and twinkly insight.

RELATED READING
The Last Conception
Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball of Death
The Garden Plot
US: A Novel 

THE LAST CONCEPTION: a Novel ~Gabriel Constans

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

THE LAST CONCEPTION is about all the ways we conceive and add to our biological heritage. The story takes us through 34 year old Savarna’s journey to discover a partner, answer her family’s needs, continue the blood lines of an ancient Indian spiritualist’s and her family’s lineage, and tell them she is a Lesbian. The interesting part of Savarna’s life is that she is an embryologist and environmentalist and these aspects are a big part of the story.

Entering her life is Charlemagne (Charley) who helps Savarna think through the possibilities and undertake the risks necessary to evaluate her dilemma and find solutions. They transition into supportive partners, which allows Savarna to come out to her traditional parents who emigrated from India. When her mother has a heart attack the family begins to relax their standards and be open to Savarna producing a child which would preserve the family bloodline as Savarna is the only family member remaining who can conceive. There is a visit from Grandmother from Southern India, and Savarna also makes a trip to her Grandmother’s home.

So many of those personal discussions which people find hard to navigate are covered in this story and it becomes refreshing to discover what ideas may be conceived. Very interesting premise and worthy discussion found here.

I had a bit of trouble getting attached to the story and the “secret” seemed rather confusing. I had promised the author to stick with the story for review and the writing began to flow with fluency about a quarter of the way. It was an old story with some technological advantages and parents who were willing to embrace their children’s American lives. I enjoyed the read and thought there was realness to the conversations.

Gabriel Constans is an author, journalist, screenwriter and trauma counselor. Gabriel’s fiction includes Buddha’s Wife, Saint Catherine’s Baby, and Rwandan Folk Tales. Gabriel is closely associated with the Rwandan Orphan’s Project, The Ihangane Project (both In Rwanda), and Building for Generations (which works in Tanzania and Peru).

Gabriel Constans’ Website 
Gabriel Constans’ Blog
Gabriel Constans’ Facebook 

Related:

The Moonlight Palace 
Imaginary Life 
The Clover House
Losing Touch