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Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba

Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba, August 2014
by Gabriel Constans

Fountain Blue Publishing
75 pages
ISBN: 1628680466
EAN: 9781628680461
Kindle: B00MBJBH00
Paperback / e-Book
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"Or As Master Tova Could Have Said: Don't Worry Your Pretty Little Head about It"

Fresh Fiction Review

Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba
Gabriel Constans

Reviewed by Monique Daoust
Posted September 23, 2014


As the title implies, ZEN MASTER TOVA TARANTINO TOSHIBA: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire is a scathing satire on religion and philosophy. Alternatively known as a man or woman, or other, Master Tova is in turns Imam, Rabbi, Reverend, depending on the source. ZEN MASTER TOVA TARANTINO TOSHIBA's teachings are presented as a collection of quotes and short stories, from a few words to a few pages. The sayings were supposedly collected over the years, all around the world, from presumed descendants, students and disciples. And predictably, there are many offspring of the famous Master who bear famous people's last names. As it happens, whichever school of thought or religion you might think of, errata were made as to the founder: everything obviously begins and ends with Master Tova.

Master Tova comes off as rather clueless, she shows little empathy, she doesn't listen to anyone. She cares only about one thing: herself, and she definitely doesn't practice what she preaches. After all, she is the One who knows, the One who preaches, the One to listen to. Some advice could endanger other's health or life, but surely that's their own problem. And so she will meditate, which surprisingly is very much akin to sleeping, but for Master Tova, it is a profound state of some sort of awareness or other.

I liked that the tone of the various stories differs according to the time, place and source from which it purportedly originates; at times sounding like a Jewish mother, a Chinese philosopher or a Valley Girl, Master Tova never fails to astonish. At the back of the book, we find praise for the book from very famous people whose names seem to bear uncanny misspellings... But that's not the point, is it?

There is one thing I found interesting and quite unsettling about ZEN MASTER TOVA TARANTINO TOSHIBA: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire is a scathing satire on religion and philosophy. It demonstrates how easily the words of great thinkers, be it Heidegger, Augustine or Derrida, can be misconstrued or misapprehended: a misunderstood term, a few omitted or misplaced words, and profound thinking becomes asinine, illogical and completely irrational. And it makes for a very amusing little book that turns profound thinking on its head.

Learn more about Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba


This fictional short-story collection challenges perceptions and illusions about religious masters, spiritual teachers, gurus, charlatans and holy men and women of all persuasions, while simultaneously tickling our funny bone and exercising the muscles our faces rely on for laughter. Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba takes liberty with questionable material from the living sea, near Egypt; tofu paper, in Okinawa; a tomb, in Italy; a shaman, in Ethiopia; and a half-sister, in India. The words, quotes, koans and stories, of this soon to be classical work, include the timeless insights of Let the Worm’s Go, Dead Food, Reality Bites, Stealing the Buddha, Drip After Drip, Sound of One Eye, Catching Wind, Looking Good, My Cat’s Enlightened, Chocolate Box, and Sex, Drugs and Sushi Rolls.

"Enlightenment or laughs? With Gabriel Constans’ book you don’t have to choose. Zen masters usually have a sense of humor, or need one. Gabriel’s got it, and he gives us a world of illusions to laugh about." Bob Fenster, author of Duh: The Stupid History of the Human Race

What do you think about this review?


1 comment posted.

Re: Or As Master Tova Could Have Said: Don't Worry Your Pretty Little Head about It

Thank you for your brilliant and insightful review Monique. Are you sure you aren't a relative of Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba?
(Gabriel Constans 12:44pm September 26, 2014)

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