Author drew inspiration from chance encounter
Times & Transcript (Moncton)
Fri Sep 4 2015
Byline: LINDA HERSEY
Too Much on the Inside has garnered rave reviews.
Released in May 2015, it is the second book from novelist Danila Botha. Originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, Danila has also lived in Israel and Halifax, and currently makes her home in Toronto.
Similar to her experience, the four characters in this literary fiction, all in their twenties, are not native to Toronto. One is from Brazil, another from South Africa, the third from Israel and the fourth grew up in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. All are making new lives and relationships in Toronto on Queen Street West.
“They all have complicated pasts that they are trying to escape,” says Danila, “but are confronted with against their will. The gritty and creatively vibrant setting of Queen Street is a big part of the story too. Above all, Too Much on the Inside is about relationships and love.”
The title of this novel was inspired by the song “Untouchable Part Zero” by Princess Superstar from New York. The powerful lyrics resonated with Danila.
She was also inspired by the short story Marvellous Madame Mim by Cathleen With, but it is Danila’s writing talent, honed since childhood, that has earned her so many accolades, including this review from Amy Lavender-Harris of The Literary review of Canada:
“Botha, whose first book drew praise for its compassion and urgency, brings similar sentiments to her interwoven portrayals of four new Torontonians of diverse origin (South Africa, Brazil, Israel and Nova Scotia) drawn to the openness and opportunities they sense Queen Street West might offer them … Too Much on the Inside deserves praise for representing Parkdale’s cultural vibrancy and diversity, and in doing so, moving beyond the derelict-hipster dynamic characterizing so many works set in the neighbourhood. There is an admirable freshness and enthusiasm in Botha’s writing, qualities that do not inhibit her ability to describe dark and even violent events.”
The inspiration for the book began with a chance encounter on a Halifax bus that would eventually help shape her four characters.
Published by Quattro Books (quattrobooks.ca), Too Much on the Inside (227 pages) is available in bookstores and online.
The author shares a favourite passage:
“I got sick of buses and trains before I left Toronto, so I bought a beaten up ’96 Dodge Shadow before I left. It was cheap and I was happy it made it all the way here. The outskirts of Moncton are nice, full of these farmhouses and barns surrounded by massive pines, and green plastic mailboxes with the red arm that stands up when you’ve got mail. You can smell the sea, and there’s vast, open space, but it’s totally different from where I grew up. I find a pub near the water that serves typical Maritimes fare – beer-battered haddock and fries, Keith’s on tap. I have to eat and drink first – build up my courage for the big reunion.”
Linda Hersey Linda Hersey’s By the Book profiles local authors and their works each Friday