contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right.


5220 Dexter Ann Arbor Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI, 48103
United States

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.

Kamby Bolongo Mean River, by Robert Lopez

Dzanc Ebooks

Kamby Bolongo Mean River, by Robert Lopez

Kamby Bolongo Mean River CoverFINAL 400.jpg
Kamby Bolongo Mean River CoverFINAL 400.jpg

Kamby Bolongo Mean River, by Robert Lopez

7.99 9.99
Add To Cart


Kamby Bolongo Mean River, Robert Lopez’s hypnotic second novel, is the story of a young man who finds himself confined and under observation, the subject of seemingly pointless tests. His only link to the outside world is a telephone that will not dial out. During the occasional calls he receives, usually wrong numbers, the narrator remembers his former life growing up in Injury, Alaska, with his mother, an often unemployed single parent, and his older brother, Charlie, a sometimes boxer, sometimes actor.

Throughout the course of this extraordinary novel, the unwilling captive draws his life story in stick figures on the walls. From the difficulty of his birth, to his sickly childhood, to adventures with his brother, the narrator depicts his crazy life, which is at once fascinating and heartbreaking. The one memory that haunts him is that of watching a movie about slaves on television and how that one slave, the one for whom Kamby Bolongo Mean River meant freedom, would never relinquish the idea of returning home.

Darkly hilarious with a crushing emotional impact, Kamby Bolongo Mean River is a brilliant study of familial bonds and trauma, isolation and captivity, hope and hopelessness.


“Lopez is obviously an adoring, straight-A student of Beckett and David Markson. . . . But the tenderness with which Lopez treats these fragile characters, the honesty in their rendering, the lullaby of loneliness that coos through this world . . . Johnny’s longing, his fear, his isolation—all of these are pure Lopez.”  —The Brooklyn Rail

“In his second novel, Robert Lopez once again taps a deeply comedic voice to record a character’s gradual estrangement and withdrawal from the world in which he’s ensnared . . . A narrative within the narrative takes shape, a prelinguistic one reminiscent of prehistoric cave paintings. He is tracing back toward the origin of his voice. He has a plan, and as the brilliant pacing and rhythm of the narrative drive toward its conclusion, this excellent novel forces a reconsideration of the very concept of a native language.”  —The Quarterly Conversation

“. . . Lopez’s innovative meditation on isolation is singular in its grim humor and emotional influence. Framed by the obsessively bizarre yet sincere outlook of a young man held under observation in unknown environs, Kamby Bolongo is a mesmeric interpretation of words . . .”  —Bookslut


Robert Lopez is the author of Part of the World and Kamby Bolongo Mean River. A collection of short fiction, Asunder, was published by Dzanc Books in 2010. He teaches at The New School, Pratt Institute, and Columbia University. He is a 2010 Fellow in Fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts.