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, the “Jews of India,” who abandoned their Hindu traditions, knelt before Vasco da Gama’s sword and Saint Francis Xavier’s cross, and became Catholics.
In Chicago circa 1973, Francisco’s Konkan father, Lawrence, does his best to assimilate into American culture, drinking a lot and speaking little. But Francisco’s American, Peace Corps–veteran mother,Denise, and his uncle Sam (aka Samuel Erasmus D’Sai) are passionate raconteurs set on preserving the family’s Konkan heritage. Friends, allies, and eventually lovers, Sam and Denise feed Francisco’s imagination with proud visions of India and Konkan history.
Like his acclaimed debutWhiteman and like the works of Monica Ali or Jhumpa Lahiri,Tony D’Souza’s The Konkans is an absorbing portrait of assimilation filled with romance, comedy,masterly storytelling, and the truth of family life in any country.