Another Review!

I’m terribly behind in everyone’s livejournals right now and I apologize for that. I’m trying to catch up on other projects.

However, my dad just got another great review from the Sacramento Book Review so I thought I would post it here!
The Azores is an archipelago hundreds of miles west of the coast of Portugal, located in the mid-Atlantic. It is a relatively unknown (or unexploited) area that is not often discussed in the media-or in literature. This will change, however, if Darrell Kastin and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture has any say. Kastin, who descends from Azores natives, has used his knowledge of the islands, their culture and their history to weave, in The Undiscovered Island, a skillful tapestry of myth, history and personal revelation that is nothing short of fascinating.

The story focuses on Julia Castro, who travels to the Azores from her home in California to seek out her father, who has mysteriously gone missing. Through her search for him, Julia encounters legends and superstitions that pervade the islands, colorful locals, local history and historical fantasy, and the magic of her roots and of herself. What Kastin has done with The Undiscovered Island is bring all of the color and quirk of this beautiful and under-appreciated area to the world’s attention-and we should thank him for that.

Reviewed by Ashley McCall


My New Project

It is official! I have now proclaimed myself my dad’s publicist! Mwahahahaha! I have such plans. I only hope I am not thwarted in realizing them. As my first publicistic (is that actually a word?) action I have signed my father up for Goodreads which–can you believe it?– I had never heard of before. You should all check it out. It seems like a brilliant resource for writers, both published and unpublished, as well as a great place to pimp one’s books. You can see his profile here: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3088448.Darrell_Kastin

If you’re already on Goodreads then please, by all means, friend him. If not you can head over there to read an excerpt from his novel, The Undiscovered Island.

I will try to post more updates soon, as I have many things to talk about, but, as usual, I am behind in everything at the moment.


A Feast of Prose and Poetry

I just finished reading my dad’s novel so I thought I would post a review of it here and on Amazon.

“The Undiscovered Island” by Darrell Kastin is a rich tapestry of Portuguese history and poetry, myth and legend, philosophical musings on art and love, and good old-fashioned mystery.

Set on the Azores Islands, “The Undiscovered Island” tells the story of Julia Castro, a young Azorean-American who returns to the islands of her ancestors in search of her father, Sebastiao, who has disappeared amid a number of mysterious circumstances; a ghost ship is seen out at sea, a luminescent woman is said to walk the shores, leading men to their deaths, the islands are rocked by earthquakes and a new island rises from the sea.

Julia soon finds herself reading through her father’s papers — historical records chronicling the many misadventures and tragedies experienced by her ancestors, as well as strange stories about a mysterious island said to be governed by the fates. As she attempts to decipher the clues her father may have left her as to his whereabouts, the lines between fantasy and reality blur in a dramatic conclusion in which the past and the present collide.

Part homage to the magic of the Azores and part love story, this book is sure to appeal to those readers of Marquez, Borges and Zafon who enjoy evocative prose and layered stories that invite multiple readings.

The book can be bought here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1933227230/ref=cm_pdp_rev_itm_img_1

or ordered through Small Press Distribution at your local bookstore.


A wonderful quote from The Undiscovered Island

I’ve been reading through my dad’s novel, which is slow going because it’s like eating a hearty meal. You want to savor everything. And I came across this beautiful passage that I thought I would post here, and which, in my opinion, epitomizes this book.

“‘Life is the dream we spin as we grow, constructing illusions around us, illusions which separate us from others, which tie us to still others, illusions upon which we stand, and which represent who and what we are… What is reality when compared to the illusions that defy and overleap our limitations, our fears, illusions which can lift us up from the dark, the lower regions wherein we cheapen and shortchange ourselves? Anti-illusion is anti-art, a return to the base, to the superstitious, the primitive, to fear. It is, in effect anti-love — life pared down to the level of pure instinct — while love is our greatest artistic expression, as both the ultimate object and the medium.

“How desperate our need is for the delusions and fantasies by which we sustain our hopes and dreams; no matter that these fancies may not represent reality, or exist in the ‘ real world,’ for there is a separate reality of the heart, mind, spirit and soul, which without these wisps and figments can only wither. One’s life should be a search for the highest of these ideals, the unmappable regions of love, the imagination, the impossible.

“I make up a story, amend the facts I find in recollection, in order to portray an essence, a truth that can’t be found and stated in any other way… what is reality stripped bare? Facts, numbers, dates, cold and dead to life, like a barren rock, a grain of sand, with no perspective of human relationship, or even of how that grain of sand relates to a beach, the sea, or an island; a life without poetry, without art. It is better to reach for the impossible, to fight against entropy and limitations; better to know we are composed of star-stuff, of the same planet we inhabit, of all life therein, that we in fact contain all the universe within ourselves. Imagination alone can make us what we may become.'”

we’ve been trying to brainstorm ways that we can promote this book so that more people read it, or, at the very least, know of its existence. The irony is my dad’s been spending more money just trying to get the book out to people than he’s ever going to get from the publisher.

It makes me sad because when I read this book I truly believe that he’s written something miraculous, a great work. I know artists of all stripes love to remind themselves and each other that great work is rarely appreciated during the lifetime of the artist who creates it, and I wonder if that is to be the fate of this book. I wonder if I, in my autumn years, will live to see this book garner the attention it deserves. How odd that would be, and how bittersweet, and how ironic.