The Sting of Peppercorns

Focus on Goan writing in English

Novel and Two Books on Goan Lit Released in Goa on January 30, 2010

PANJIM: Roughly one century after Goans started producing their literature in English, how vibrant and relevant is this field? This issue came up for debate at the Clube Vasco da Gama this weekend, at a function to coincide with the release of a new novel on Goa, and two other books dealing with Goan writing in English.

‘The Sting of Peppercorns’ by prominent US-based cardiologist Antonio Gomes of Loutolim was released at the Clube Vasco da Gama on Saturday, Jan 30, 2010 at 5 p.m., along with two other books on Goan writers and writing. All three are co-published by Broadway Book Centre and Goa,1556 — Peter Nazareth’s anthology ‘Pivoting on the Point of Return:Modern Goan Literature’ and Donna J. Young’s focus on recent Goan writing, ‘Mirror to Goa’.

The launch of the books was preceded by a discussion on Goan Writing In English: How Vibrant, How Relevant? Participants are prominent writer Maria Aurora Couto (author of ‘Goa, A Daughter’s Story’); Damodar Mauzo (noted Konkani novelist and short-story writer); Margaret Mascarenhas (author of widely-noticed ‘Skin’ and ‘The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos’); Norma Alvares (attorney, publisher and activist, Other India Bookstore, Goa); and Vidyadhar Gadgil (journalist, translator and book editor).

The discussion will be chaired by novelist, journalist and editor Victor Rangel-Ribeiro, known for his work including the novel ‘Tivolem’ and short story collection ‘Loving

Tony Gomes’ novel is set around events in Goa in 1961. In the village of Loutolim, Dona Isabella prepares for the unexpected return of her eldest and favorite son Paulo,
studying law in Coimbra. The lives of Paulo, his love-smitten brother Roberto, and their rich and traditional family take a tragic turn when the integration of Goa into India disrupts the socio-economic foundation of their family life. A story of love and betrayal, played out on two continents.

Rangel-Ribeiro has termed this novel “a major contribution to the fictional literature on Goa.” American poet, critic and academic Grace Schulman called it “a dazzling first novel by a master storyteller”. She writes: “This book is original, compelling, and magical: it will draw you in from the opening words.”

The function, which was open to the public, began — as scheduled — sharp at 5 p.m..


Panel discussion. From left, lawyer-publisher Norma Alvares, journalist Vidyadhar Gadgil, novelist Damodar Mauzo, novelist Victor Rangel-Ribeiro (in the chair), novelist Margaret Mascarenhas, author-professor Dr Maria Aurora Couto.