Mephisto’s Waltz: Selected Short Stories


By Sergio Pitol
Translated from the Spanish by George Henson

Pitol gained legendary status first as a short story writer. This, his first collection in English, showcases his greatest stories. 

Publication Date: January 22, 2019

Paperback: 9781941920831
Ebook: 9781941920817



“One of Mexico’s most culturally complex and composite writers.” — Publishers Weekly

From the renowned Mexican literary master and author of the Trilogy of Memory comes Mephisto’s Waltz, bringing together the best short stories from celebrated writer Sergio Pitol’s oeuvre. The collection includes the titular story, Pitol’s personal favorite, that was awarded the renowned Xavier Villaurrutia prize upon publication in 1984. Selected by the author, each story is a glimpse into the works that first gained Pitol his status as one of the greatest living Mexican writers and showcases the evolution of his unique literary style.

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“Translating the twists and turns and folds of Sergio Pitol’s sentences must have been no easy feat, which is why George Henson deserves a medal for his work here. Henson renders Pitol’s sentences in a rich mix of formality and informality—fitting for a writer who was both a lawyer and diplomat, someone so used to exacting methods of communication.” – Greg Walkin, Literal Magazine

“A dizzying and, at times, disorienting read, yet surely this is what caused Pitol to light up an already-lit Latin scene . . . Pitol’s biggest leaps forward—nesting stories inside one another, analyzing his writing like a critic, blurring the line between life and art—test the limits of what bookfolk today like to call autofiction . . . Together, the fragments add up to a broad snapshot of a time and place and, in hindsight, make the narrative gymnastics of Bolaño seem inevitable.” – Robert Rea, The Southwest Review

“This collection spans decades in Pitol’s career, and the stories found within it are set in numerous countries, giving a fantastic sense of the dizzying life of their author. Pitol’s storytelling often takes storytelling itself as the subject, and the winding and complex tales here fantastically evoke different modes of memory and narrative.” – Tobias Carroll, Words Without Borders

“Known for transcending genres and styles, Pitol’s writing stretched beyond the traditional magical realism of Latin America to include surrealist, irreverent turns that were both dark in their truth and light in their playful structure.”- Laura Farmer, The Gazette

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