Pauls Toutonghi | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Pauls Toutonghi 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

In his debut novel, Red Weather (Shaye Areheart), Pauls Toutonghi zeros in on a time (1989), a place (working-class Milwaukee), and an age (15) with startling acuity. His narrator, Yuri, the shy son of Latvian immigrants, is torn between bravado and bewilderment as he wrestles with the embarrassments of adolescence--his alcoholic, romantic father, Rudolfs, chief among them. When Yuri falls hard for the daughter of a socialist blowhard, the resulting microcultural clashes mirror the geopolitical upheavals of the time; in one winsome scene Yuri's parents watch the fall of the Berlin Wall on TV and sloppily, giddily kiss as Yuri squirms. As a coming-of-age story Red Weather is a little aimless--a late tangent involving Yuri and his second cousin is mystifying. But it's also a wry character study of the confounding Rudolfs and a tardy, gentle appreciation of a father by his son--a love song as sweet as any sung by the mythic Latvian balladeer for whom the boy is named. Bookslut Reading Series with Daniel Nester (God Save My Queen) and Ned Vizzini (It's Kind of a Funny Story), Tue 6/27, 7:30 PM, Hopleaf Bar, 5148 N. Clark, 312-850-4277.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Ed Lederman.

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
October 02
Galleries & Museums
August 20

Popular Stories