Proper Imposters
Four Novellas

Chaya Bhuvaneswar, Mauricio Montiel Figueiras, Jason Ockert, and Jeff Parker


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Available for pre-order. This book will be available January, 2025
 

Distributed by University Press of Florida on behalf of Panhandler Books, an imprint of the Department of English and World Languages at the University of West Florida  
 
“Mauricio Montiel Figueiras writes with the curious clarity of Joseph Roth and Heinrich von Kleist, but CROWD bears most bravely the mark of the vampire that is Kafka. ‘Out there in the woods, the enemy is still at work.’ Abel hears a cockroach scratching within the walls of an elevator; he intuits his destiny, the execution of Mr. Kane. A noir sensibility informs Montiel’s searing narrative, the evidence arriving at its dénouement when Abel is cornered by three men, one with a gun.”—Barry Gifford, author of Wild at Heart  
 
“Chaya Bhuvaneswar’s Lalita is a tale of survival and redemption. There is humor here, too, and the title character is brilliantly rendered on the page: full of gumption and resolve. Once you meet her, you won't be able to forget her, and you will follow her anywhere. As with other masters of the novella—Katherine Anne Porter, Elizabeth Strout—Bhuvaneswar is able to render an epic in miniature form.”—Nick White, author of Sweet and Low: Stories and How to Survive a Summer: A Novel   
 
“You can finish reading a novella in one long sitting, but that doesn’t mean that it will be finished with you. Jason Ockert’s The Body Collector is a triumph of big-hearted surrealism. With nods to Borges and Saramago, this nightmarish tale follows Duncan Weaver, your average overweight life insurance agent who may or may not have died. A few times. Duncan may be struggling to lose weight, but his body is not what it seems when the Body Collector comes to collect his due. I wish I could start it all over again for the first time!”—Jessica Anthony, author of Enter the Aardvark  
 
“This brilliantly imagined tale of thorny friendship between two master storytellers is unlike anything I have ever read. A surreal road story brimming with metaphysical horrors and marvels, Jeff Parker’s G v. P gives us a darkly funny and deeply moving meditation on life, death, and art that you’ll never forget.”—Mona Awad, author of Bunny   
 
In Proper Imposters, four contemporary authors explore the vices and virtues of deception and how it manifests in ways personal, psychological, propulsive, and profound. An accountant at a pencil manufacturing company investigates a series of ominous events behind the facade of the mysterious company where he works; from their deathbeds, fictionalized versions of Nikolai Gogol and Edgar Allen Poe look back on their lives and remember an epic, transformational, and ahistorical road trip they took together as young men; a young woman is startled into action trying to execute “a simple plan” of escape involving cash, a sleep-over by her college roommate and the bold seduction of a boy she has decided to lose her virginity to; and, a reclusive night-shift worker tries a daring weight-loss experiment only to find himself pursued by a stalker no one else can see. Montiel Figueiras, Parker, Bhuvaneswar, and Ockert are devotees and virtuosos of the form, and each novella is lyrically rich in its prose and swift in its plotting. Together, the novellas startle with the consequences of seeing and being seen.  
 
Mauricio Montiel Figueiras is a writer of prose fiction and essays, as well as a poet, translator, editor, and film and literary critic. He is the author of fifteen books in different genres. His work has been published in magazines and newspapers in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Italy, Peru, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. He has been Resident Writer for the Cheltenham Festival of Literature in England (2003) and The Bellagio Study and Conference Center in Italy (2008). In 2012 he was appointed Resident Writer for the prestigious Hawthornden Retreat for Writers in Scotland. In 2020 he was selected artist in residence for the Saari Residence in Finland. Since 1995 he lives and works in Mexico City.  
 
Jeff Parker is the author of several books including Where Bears Roam the Streets: A Russian Journal, the novel Ovenman, and the short story collection The Taste of Penny. He teaches prose in the MFA Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and he is the co-founder and director of the DISQUIET International Literary Program in Lisbon, Portugal.  
 
Chaya Bhuvaneswar is a practicing physician, writer, and PEN /American Robert W. Bingham Debut Fiction award finalist for her story collection White Dancing Elephants: Stories, which was also selected as a Kirkus Reviews Best Debut Fiction and Best Short Story Collection and appeared on “best of” lists for Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Vogue India, and Entertainment Weekly. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, The Sun, Narrative Magazine, Tin House, Electric Literature, Kenyon Review, Masters Review, The Millions, Joyland, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Awl, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from MacDowell, Community of Writers, and Sewanee Writers Workshop.  
 
Jason Ockert is the author of Wasp Box, a novel, and three collections of short stories: Shadowselves, Neighbors of Nothing, and Rabbit Punches. Winner of the Dzanc Short Story Collection Contest, the Atlantic Monthly Fiction Contest, and the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award, he was also a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award and the Million Writers Award. His work has appeared in journals and anthologies including Best American Mystery Stories, Granta, The Cincinnati Review, Oxford American, One Story, and McSweeney’s. He teaches at Coastal Carolina University.
 
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