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Dzanc Books is nonprofit press specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction. In addition to publishing activities, Dzanc Books also supports the Disquiet International Literary Program.

Pacazo, by Roy Kesey

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Pacazo, by Roy Kesey


Pacazo, by Roy Kesey


Publication Date: January 18, 2011
Paperback: 530 pages
ISBN: 978-0-982631-82-9
Trim: 9 x 6


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Winner of the 2012 Paula Anderson Book Award
A Rumpus Book Club Selection

Roy Kesey's riveting debut novel tells the story of John Segovia, an American historian who teaches English at a small university in Piura, on the desert coast of Peru. The narrative moves between John's obsessive search for his wife's killer and his attempts to build a new life for himself and his infant daughter. The storms of El Niño--three months of savage rains, insect plagues and collapsed bridges--and the ghosts of history that stalk the sands of the Sechura Desert give this novel the sweep of an epic tale. Throughout, Pacazoexplores and celebrates the many ways in which we construct the stories we tell of ourselves and those we love. It gives living form to anger and fear and desire, to courage and kindness and strength, and in so doing confirms Roy Kesey as one of the most innovative and compelling American writers working today.


“Intense, hypnotic and stunningly visceral, Roy Kesey's story of a man driven to madness by the murder of his wife grabs you from the first page and drags you into a dark, hallucinatory journey that you won't want to stop. It's one of those books that reminds you of the great power of a novel to transport and transform a reader.” —National Book Award finalist Dan Chaon, author of Await Your Reply and Among the Missing

“Roy Kesey's Pacazo is like a cannonball rolling downhill, but even as its readers are propelled forward by this magnificent story, I hope they will also notice all the other things the author does so well. The plain truth is that this is a tender book, and it's a thoughtful one, too. This superb writer knows as much about the human heart as anybody out there, and this novel belongs on the shelf where you keep the books you love best.” —PEN/Faulkner Award finalist Steve Yarbrough, author of Safe From the Neighbors and Prisoners of War

“Roy Kesey used to be the best-kept secret in American literature, but with Pacazo the secret is out. In this debut novel Kesey strides up alongside Graham Greene, melding intrigue, religion, and exotica into a story as edifying as it is entertaining. Ultimately, though, Kesey's greatest achievement lies in his ability to illuminate all that is grand and horrible in love.” —Metcalf Award winner Ron Currie, Jr., author of Everything Matters! and God is Dead


“(A) shaggy-dog tale that eventually—boldly—invites comparison to its great progenitor, Don Quixote... By and large (Pacazo) earns its claim to the old knight's inheritance. (A) fresh and powerful reminder of what fiction can accomplish at full length.” —John Domini, Bookforum

“We think that Kesey, already so respected for his short stories, is going to be known as a major novelist following the publication of this work.” —Stephen Elliott, The Rumpus

"Kesey demonstrates real skill... in deferring the reader's desire for resolution. Communication is rare, challenging, and often garbled. Moments of intimacy come in tiny jumbled moments. The book is huge, the narrator is huge, and the amount of information to be processed is huge... Kesey keeps us banging up against the smaller possibilities of understanding and resolution, forcing us to live with the floating fear and uncertainly that is more true to a life that simply plods on." —Leora Fridman, Rain Taxi