Pauls Toutonghi - Refugee Ocean


Saturday November 11 at 5 PM Pauls Toutonghi presents his latest novel, The Refugee Ocean.   Please register to attend this free event by emailing There will be refreshments and drawings for prizes. 

Set-in two-time frames bound together by music; this compelling story presents vivid characters whose lives are touched by cataclysmic events.  In 2014 Naim Rahil lives in Aleppo Syria, a city at war with itself, where each sound must be examined for danger. Naim is a young man with a future, through his musical talent he plans to study and have a career.  In the seconds of the explosion, the blast robs him of that hope.  With a mangled hand, he can no longer anticipate a brilliant life as a musical prodigy.  

Surviving in a refugee camp, he is wracked by anger, despair, and worry.  What is to become of him?  Where will he go now?  Toutonghi captures so perfectly the feelings a young man goes through when his future is snatched from him by violence, when he suffers unimaginable loss, when he is relegated to life in a camp.  Anger and despair are reasonable emotions in those circumstances. Now all his hopes are pinned on getting out, on being sent to a country where explosions are not a possibility of daily life.

Naim is one of the fortunate refugees, he is sent to the US.  But our streets are not paved of gold, and it is hard to adjust to a country with such different ways and attitudes.  Making ends meet, learning the ways of this vast and different country is hard.

In 1948 Marguerite Toutonghi is expected to acquiesce in being the currency that will save her family from financial ruin through the good match arranged by her father. The man she is expected to marry has conservative beliefs requiring a wife to relinquish aspirations of her own and who has no love of music. This is abhorrent to her! Music is her life’s passion, she is talented, young, and passionate, marriage to him would crush her. Marguerite’s dream is to leave her home in Beirut Lebanon to study at the Conservatoire de Paris, a goal that her father will not permit.  He needs this union between his daughter, and the rather boring man with money and connections. 

Marguerite chaffs at being used to finance her family with the sale of her body and soul.  One night, at a dance, she meets a young Cuban man who understands her love of music, is interested in her thoughts, and is not intimidated by a woman having opinions.  After a family betrayal, Margueritte throws caution to the wind, and boards a ship to Cuba.

I admired Margueritte and enjoyed reading about her.  Naim made me think about the horrible damage war and violence cause to the human soul.  The characters are likable and resilient. And yet, here we are still, a world at war in many places.   Toutonghi writes of serious events in the lives of his characters, but he does so in a way that is uplifting, and entertaining.  


Event date: 

Saturday, November 11, 2023 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm

Event address: 

57100 Beaver Drive
Sunriver Village Building 25
Sunriver, OR 97707
Staff Pick Badge
The Refugee Ocean By Pauls Toutonghi Cover Image
ISBN: 9781668007433
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - October 3rd, 2023

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Dog Gone: A Lost Pet's Extraordinary Journey and the Family Who Brought Him Home By Pauls Toutonghi Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101971017
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - April 4th, 2017