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Falsipedies & Fibsiennes

Forthcoming in September, 2014, via Guernica Editions. Now available for preorder.

Ranging from the Persian Gulf to the American South, from ancient Greece to pre-Islamic Arabia, Ali Eteraz’s stories observe an eccentric cast of characters longing for freedom. Illicit lovers playing with Koranic numerology; an enslaved man turned into a beast; a young woman rejecting her father’s faith; theologically inclined brothers caught in a dragnet; a resentful poet’s cynical humanitarianism. Sensual and surrealist, the stories in Falsipedies and Fibsiennes unsettle and surprise, but with tenderness.

The title of the collection is inspired by the “Gymnopedies and Gnossiennes” of the early 20th century Dadaist composer Erik Satie. These were made-up words Satie used to refer to a new type of music.

Table of Contents

  • The Woman in the Scorpion Abaya
  • A Lawyer in Islamistan
  • A Beautiful Woman
  • Honey
  • The Invasion of Mecca
  • The Monster
  • The Art of Becoming Snow
  • The Art of Becoming a Jinn
  • Volkodlak
  • The Conversion of Hajj Abdul Rahim al-Biloxi
  • The Hunter of Virgins
  • Tyranny

Preorder English language versions:

Amazon Canada
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Amazon France
Amazon Germany
Amazon Japan
Amazon Italy

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Advance Praise

"Barry Hannah said that great fiction ‘Takes Us There.’ When you read Ali Eteraz’s brave, wonderful stories, you are transported by strength of detail, diction and image to a landscape that is at once both strange and familiar, fabulist and realist. The effect is that of being simultaneously on an island, in a desert, in gridlock traffic on a sandstorm-battered highway. You want to see how Eteraz imagines and re-imagines the worlds we live in now, and the worlds we’ve experienced in our dreams, in our pasts. If you like stories that challenge and delight, this is your book." — Elizabeth Kadetsky, author of THE POISON THAT PURIFIES YOU (Paul Bowles Prize Winner at C&R Press) and FIRST THERE IS A MOUNTAIN (Little Brown).

Praise for Select Stories


"I have read Volkodlak several times…it’s fascinating and sensual, and a great exploration of ‘humanity’ in all senses of the word." — Alissa Nutting, Managing Editor of Fairy Tale Review and author of TAMPA (Ecco).


"It is the easiest thing in the world to write a story that poses no challenges, that follows the expected contours of narration. Modernists broke away from those conventions, and now, in a revived age of capitalist realism, we need new ways around the canonical formations. In “Hunter of Virgins”—a story of repressed sexuality taken to bizarre extremes: we may call it contemporary Arab Gothic—Eteraz constantly contravenes established discourses about gender, class, and social norms in Kuwaiti society, each time challenging us to rethink our own collaboration in these practices. There is a technically astute way to subvert expectations and a clumsier way, and what Eteraz does is to exploit the techniques of buildup, suspense, and thwarted plot development to take us in a wholly surprising direction from where the story starts out, a surprise that can then be read back to the beginning to lend retrospective urgency to what was calculatedly presented as meandering and hesitant. This is a very artful story that refuses to take the reader by the hand and comfort him, and displays the narrator’s resilient confidence in stopping and going, as though taking a dispassionate overview of the realist fictional landscape and suggesting many contingent ways of looking through it. Having long been an admirer of Eteraz’s writing, I am very gratified to witness his maturity as a fiction writer; I feel like he has big surprises up his sleeve and I look forward to being further enchanted." — Anis Shivani, National Book Critics Circle, author of THE FIFTH LASH AND OTHER STORIES (C&R Press) and ANATOLIA AND OTHER STORIES (Black Lawrence Press).


"This story is gorgeous. Its like something out of DUBLINERS, except in the Middle East. Really beautiful." — Elizabeth McKenzie, author of STOP THE GIRL (Random House), short-listed for the Story Prize.

"Why does what we look like matter so much? Why do we seem more motivated to fix others versus ourselves? Why do we often have so little say over our own lives? These are just some of the quandaries explored in Ali Eteraz’s story, “A Beautiful Woman.” Set in Abu Dhabi and crackling with strangeness, “A Beautiful Woman” drops us into a chaotic, dangerous, and unjust microcosm with Samia at its center, a heretofore marginalized maid whose preferred mode of transportation is a miniature, motorized trike and whom hecklers have dubbed the Bandit Queen. With true empathy, I will remember Samia less as the Bandit Queen, however much I like that image and title, and more as the overlooked woman who, “in the recessed parts of her, where vestiges of femininity were still strong, she felt anguish.” — Ethel Rohan, author of OUT OF DUBLIN (Shebooks) & GOODNIGHT NOBODY (Queen’s Ferry Press), a Story Prize Notable Book.


"Love, in a time of suspicion and a place of repression; Eteraz paints an entire world in small strokes on a miniature canvas." — Tabish Khair, author of HOW TO FIGHT ISLAMIST TERROR FROM THE MISSIONARY POSITION (HarperCollins).

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Ali Eteraz is an American writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He grew up in the Caribbean, South Asia, and the American South.

He is the author of the forthcoming short story collection Falsipedies and Fibsiennes (Guernica Ed. 2014). Other stories have appeared in storySouth, Chicago Quarterly Review, Akashic Books, Crossborder, and Forge Journal, among others. His first story, Tyranny, was a finalist for a Glimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers.

Eteraz is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Children of Dust (HarperCollins, 2009). It was selected as a New Statesman Book of the Year and was featured on PBS with Tavis Smiley, NPR with Terry Gross, C-SPAN2, and numerous international outlets.

Eteraz is an accomplished essayist and has been spotlighted by Time Magazine and Pageturner, the literary blog of the New Yorker. In 2014, Eteraz won the 3 Quarks Daily Arts & Literature Prize judged by novelist and NYTimes book columnist Mohsin Hamid.

Eteraz graduated magna cum laude from Emory University; was a Fellow at the US Dept. of Justice; and worked as a lawyer in Manhattan. He is an inhabitant of the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto.

For much more on Ali Eteraz please visit his full literary website and portfolio.

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July 25 @ 10:45 am
San Jose, CA

Hayward Public Library
Peer Writing Group
July 26 @ 2 pm
Hayward, CA

Chicago Quarterly Review
Park Life Art Gallery
August 18 @ 8 pm
San Francisco, CA

Why There Are Words
Literary Reading Series
September 11 @ 7 PM
Studio 333
333 Caledonia Street
Sausalito, CA

Inside StoryTime
La Movida Wine Bar & Community Kitchen
September 16 @ 7:30
San Francisco, CA

Hayward Public Library
Peer Writing Group
Sept 29 @ 6 pm
Hayward, CA

Books, Inc.
Official Book Launch
October 2 @ 7 pm
Mountain View, CA

LitCrawl, SF
Grotto Reading
October 18 @ 7:15 pm
The Chapel
777 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA

Howard Zinn Book Fair
November 15 @ TBD
San Francisco, CA

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An excerpt from lead story in the collection, set in Bahrain, about a surrealist American painter, love, and Koranic numerology. Neelanjana Banerjee of the LA Review of Books called the story “flawless and brilliant” and “worth buying the entire collection for.”

An excerpt from the astonishing story of a maid-cum-private-detective in Abu Dhabi. The acclaimed author of Stop the Girl (Random House) and finalist for the Story Prize, Elizabeth McKenzie, described it as “Gorgeous! Something out of Dubliners, except in the Middle East.”

An excerpt from the much beloved story about a bed-ridden boy in Alabama and his weird family. Originally published in Digital Americana Spring 2013.

An excerpt from the story about a Caliph’s wife, a lawyer named Mr. Eblis, and a Jewish writer smuggled into the Caliphate. Originally published in Crossborder Spring 2014.

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