Some terrific news: The Rumpus Bookclub has picked Pacazo as their selection for January.
Granta's list of the writers they consider to be the Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists is terrific and silly for all the usual reasons. It's also a bit ridiculous that only 5 of the 22 writers listed are women, and that a full 8 of the 22 come from a single country (albeit one with a magnificent literary tradition that includes two of my all-time favorite writers.) That said, of the listed writers whose work I'm familiar with, (about half of them, plus scatterings from a few more through Etiqueta Negra,) I can't really imagine leaving any of them off the list.
The two I know best are the Peruvians: Santiago Roncagliolo and Carlos Yushimito. Roncagliolo is an established figure here, has won most of the awards there are to win, and deserved every one of them. Yushimito is just getting started, doesn't yet have anything in English (but, I suspect, soon will) and your eye, it should be on him.
Good news from the back pages! Along with stories by my friends Matt Bell and Jim Tomlinson, among many, many other bits of work by many other fine writers, "Double Fish," a story of mine that got tapped for the 2009 Jeffrey E. Smith Editors' Prize run by The Missouri Review way back in the day, got a Special Mention in The Pushcart Prize XXXV: Best of the Small Presses (2011). Many thanks to the Pushcart people, to Speer Morgan and Evelyn Somers and Kris Somerville and the rest of the team at TMR, and to Cliff Garstang, who was kind enough to let me know about the good news in the first place.
"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."
"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."
"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."
and it's going, it's going, it's over the creek and gone and Mario, Mario, you may be a son of a bitch but those books, Mario, those books, they earned you every bit of this.
I'll be in Beijing for the next ten days to participate in the immensity that is Get It Louder! All participants are legally required to end all statements with exclamation points for the duration of the conference! More information here and here!