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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

Dzanc Ebooks

Pacazo, by Roy Kesey


Pacazo, by Roy Kesey

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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, Pacazo explores 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 Kesey as one of the most innovative and compelling American writers working today.


“[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.”  —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.”  —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.” —Rain Taxi


Roy Kesey’s latest book is a short story collection called Any Deadly Thing, published by Dzanc Books in 2013. His other books include a novel called Pacazo (the January 2011 selection for the Rumpus Book Club, and winner of the Paula Anderson Book Award), a collection of short stories called All Over (a finalist for the Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award, and one of The L Magazine’s Best Books of the Decade), a novella called Nothing in the World (winner of the Bullfight Media Little Book Award), and two historical guidebooks. His short stories, essays, translations, and poems have appeared in more than a hundred magazines and anthologies, including Best American Short Stories, The Robert Olen Butler Prize Anthology, and New Sudden Fiction. He has won two Pushcart Prize special mentions, the Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize in fiction, and a 2010 prose fellowship from the NEA. He currently lives in Maryland with his wife and children.