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Evel Knievel Days

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  263 ratings  ·  72 reviews
From the critically-acclaimed author of Red Weather comes a heartwarming, witty story of immigration and belonging, false starts and new beginnings, and finding out what home truly means

   Khosi Saqr has always felt a bit out of place in Butte, Montana, hometown of motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel.  Half-Egyptian, full of nervous habits, raised by a single mother, owner o
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 17th 2012 by Crown (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. I am not sure I can explain exactly why I liked this book so much. It's about a 20+ year old man, who suffers from OCD, living in Butte, Montana, working at an old mining baron museum. He is the product of a broken marriage, with an Egyptian father, who deserted his family with a crushing gambling debt. Khosi Saqr goes to Cairo to track down his father, and discovers much. It has elements of fantasy (ghosts), culture and cooking, deep familial love, regrets, physical and mental illnes ...more
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2013
This is one of those books I would have never picked up as I have absolutely no interest in Evel Knievel (when spouse saw the book in my basket said "Are you reading about Evel Knievel??") and the cover doesn't exactly scream "pick me up and read me now!" so I never thought about bringing it home. However, when querying library staff for their favorite books of 2012, this was mentioned and to my delight found it is not only a wonderful book (so far) but it's authored by an Oregon writer!

Final w
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
[I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. This review was originally posted at Iris on Books].

Khosi Saqr has lived in Butte, Montana all his life. He is a tour guide at the museum, and he helps his mother with her catering business by tasting her food. As a little bit of an obsessive compulsive, he likes order in his life. Every night before he leaves the museum, he makes sure all the documents and pencils are sorted. When he was a child, he sorted the colouring pencils making s
Emily Crowe
May 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Though I had a few minor issues, I overall enjoyed this book quite a bit. The author makes generous use of literary allusions throughout the text, which I appreciated and had fun with, and also made me wonder how many of them I was missing.

I'm not a huge fan of first person narratives. When they're done extremely well, the point of view does fade away to the point where I don't notice it any more, but it wasn't always the case with this book. Still, the book at least wasn't written in the "pres
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-fiction
Couldn't put it down! "Western Montana's most famous half-Egyptian shut-in." I bought this after reading the Ron Charles review in the Washington Post. I've never bought based on a review before but that description of the protagonist, Khosi Saqr, caught my interest. I have little knowledge of Cairo, or Butte, or even Evel Knievel, so I can't say if they are well-represented. But the relationships are. A dysfunctional family, and a search for roots that turn out to be something else. ...more
Feb 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Crown Publishing
From the critically-acclaimed author of Red Weather comes a heartwarming, witty story of immigration and belonging, false starts and new beginnings, and finding out what home truly means

Khosi Saqr has always felt a bit out of place in Butte, Montana, hometown of motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel. Half-Egyptian, full of nervous habits, raised by a single mother, owner of a name that no one can pronounce -- Khosi has never quite managed to fit in. But when a mysterious stranger arrives in town (an
Rick Gingrich
Jan 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
4 Stars (Originally 3.5 - Now 4 after I caught myself thinking about the story and recommending it to a friend :) )

I debated between giving this 3 or 4 stars. I liked the story quite a bit, the interesting character development, and the themes it explored. The story explores a period in the life of Koshi Saqr, an American, who is also half Egyptian, and on the verge of adulthood. It is an interesting story of his search for a connection to his father and his Egyptian heritage. The story moves qu
Susan Massad
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Pauls Toutonghi’s book Evel Knievel days takes us into the heart of Butte, Montana where the story’s protagonist, Khosi a half Egyptian, half Russian American young man lives with his idiosyncratic single Mom Amy. She’s hardly the most stable woman around, but she’s a fabulous cook and has perfected Mediterranean cuisine so much that she’s able to make a living to support herself and her only son.
Amidst a personal crisis, Khosi embarks upon an overseas journey to find his absentee father. Thoug
Aug 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book through the Goodreads Giveaway section.

I must admit that it did take me a few chapters to actually enjoy the story. The author uses a lot of detail, which I certainly can appreciate. The main character Khosi is witty, charming, and struggling with the mystery of his father's leaving. I really enjoyed the many references to Khosi's Egyptian background, which in itself was quite educational. It was entertaining to read about Khosi's trip to Egypt and the many struggl
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book was received for free through Goodreads First Reads.

I will admit that the tie-in to Evel Knievel was not a positive for me, but this was absolutely not a book that revolved around Evel Knievel. It is the story of Khosi, an endearing if somewhat neurotic young man raised in Montana by a single mother. In his early-20s, Khosi becomes interested in his biological father, and sets out to learn more about his Egyptian roots.

The story is engaging, well written, and heartwarming. I would not
Read It Forward
Jun 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
We were charmed by Pauls Toutonghi and his first novel, Red Weather, one of our favorites of 2006 and a terrific coming-of-age story. Pauls writes with that rare combination of wit and heart. His writing is brilliant but warm, his characters original but knowable, and the story he tells in Evel Knievel Days is unlike anything we've read before. And what a title, right? ...more
Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
I may be a little bit biased because I spent my childhood summers in Montana, my uncle was good friends with Evel Knievel and I recently visited Cairo--so this book is right up my alley. Also, I tend to love quirky books.

Even if those things are not true of you, you should give this charming book a try. It's going to be a little different from most other stuff you read.

Aug 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
A smart, multicultural comedy of errors. The relationship between the narrator, the young Montana-raised guy, Khosi, and his estranged Egyptian father is a funny love/hate roller coaster throughout this lighthearted novel.
boy from butte goes back to cairo as a man to visit his relatives, adventures ensue, and terrible sickness, but he gets well,phew, and returns to butte, to true love. nice novel, really.
Stephanie Cote
Aug 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing

I loved this book.
Mike Cavosie
Sep 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Kind of snuck up on me there at the end--a crescendo that served to elevate the entire story.
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Weird. But I liked it.
Mar 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Excellent writing, but some of the plot elements were a stretch for me.
Della Scott
Aug 10, 2012 marked it as wishlist
I found out about this from Powell's "Daily Dose." It's about Butte, how could they go wrong? ...more
Rea Keech
May 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an enjoyable story about a young man born and raised in Butte, Montana, whose Egyptian-born father abandoned him and his mother when he was three. He leaves Butte in his twenties and goes to Cairo in search of his father. The novel is written in a simple, conversational style and has a basic plot, but Khosi Saqr’s quirks of character provide a fascination as he reacts to people and society in Butte and Cairo.

The story is told almost completely in simple, staccato sentences, the way we of
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not sure why it took me so long to read this but once I started found it hard to put down. The plot was a classic story of the person who doesn’t quite fit in and goes on a journey to find themselves. The characters really drew me in, and the setting was interesting and unique. Throw in a rare genetic disease, a ghost and absolutely delicious descriptions of food, and its a winner! I will be searching for Egyptian restaurants in my area soon!
Edward Nugent
Enjoyable, witty, humourous, original, I was very pleasantly surprised.
Charleen Mcinnis
Odd combination of butte montana and Cairo, it marginally works
Roberta Emerson
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Delightful and very unique.
Jul 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
My review, published in the Missoula Independent:

On the dust jacket of Pauls Toutonghi's Evel Knievel Days, the viewer is faced with a visual conundrum: two pyramids and a palm tree, beneath which is reflected two Montana peaks and a pine tree. It is an impeccable metaphor for the book's many multiculturally symbolic tropes. The author's second novel is a trip through Montana history, Middle Eastern cuisine and the crises of growing up in exile from your heritage. "This is what it feels like to
Ron Charles
Jul 24, 2012 rated it liked it
For a satisfying and original comedy about the dejected American male, turn to Pauls Toutonghi’s second novel, “Evel Knievel Days.” A half-Egyptian and half-Latvian American who lives in Seattle, Toutonghi has a light touch that can dart between slapstick and deadpan humor. His protagonist here is Khosi Saqr, a great-great-grandson of the founder of a vast copper empire in Butte, Mont., the birthplace of the eponymous motorcycle daredevil. Khosi is an eccentric autodidact who ventures out only t ...more
Brett Boerner
Jul 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, giveaways
I received this book from a Goodreads Firstread giveaway.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but the title itself was something that pulled me in. Khosi, our main character, travels to meet his Egyptian father in Cairo. This may not sound like such a big leap, but Khosi has a mother that needs constant vigilence in taking her medication for a condition she has. Also, Khosi most definitely has OCD, and has hardly ever left his hometown of Butte, Montana.

The basic story is one of self-dis
Jenny Shank
Feb 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
REVIEW - From the February 18, 2013 High Country News issue

Evel Knievel Days
Pauls Toutonghi
293 pages,
hardcover: $24.
Crown, 2012.

Khosi Saqr Clark, the narrator of Pauls Toutonghi's funny and winsome second novel, Evel Knievel Days, isn't a typical native of Butte. Sure, he loves Montana and enjoys the annual Evel Knievel Days spectacle, complete with its "American Motordome Wall of Death," but his neurotic nature ("the obsessive-compulsive's worst fear: the world infinitesimally askew") and his s
Apr 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
"I couldn't stop blushing. I could feel the heat of it rising through me. I could feel it filling my cheeks with a steady burn. Embarrassment tumbled through my body, and my senses all felt alive and sharp, despite the lack of air coming into my lungs, and I could hear the clatter of forks and knives and, a few feet away, the single elderly man who slurped at his cup of sweetened tea. Behind the wall, Farid's sous chef stood poised over a large-mouthed cauldron of soup...beyond that, beyond the ...more
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Read It Forward: * EVEL KNIEVEL DAYS by Pauls Toutonghi 1 9 Jun 15, 2012 09:38AM  

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