Included in Sergio Pitol’s Trilogy of Memory:
The Art of Flight
The Art of Flight, originally published in 1997, is the first novel in Sergio Pitol’s “Trilogy of Memory,” a collection of essays and stories that blends the genres of memoir and creative essay in an imaginative swirl of reflection and contemplation. Pitol, considered Mexico’s greatest living author, was honored for his lifetime achievements with the 2005 Cervantes Prize, considered the Spanish language’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize. From the 1960s through the 1990s Pitol worked as a cultural attaché in Mexican embassies throughout the world, and served as ambassador to Czechoslovakia. An erudite scholar of literary history and world culture, Pitol is also renowned for his translations from Russian, Polish, English, and German into Spanish, including Joseph Conrad, Jane Austen, and Witold Gombrowicz. A unique, timeless, international literary voice in the mold of Henry James, Thomas Mann, and Jorge Luis Borges, Pitol’s work has been translated into more than ten languages. The Art of Flight is Pitol’s first novel published in English.
The Journey features one of the world’s master storytellers at work as he skillfully recounts two weeks of travel around the Soviet Union in 1986. From the first paragraph Pitol dislocates the sense of reality, masterfully and playfully blurring the lines between fiction and fact. This adventurous story, based on the author’s own travel journals, parades through some of the territories that the author lived in and traveled through (Prague, the Caucasus, Moscow, Leningrad) as he reflects on the impact of Russia’s sacred literary pantheon in his life and the power that literature holds over us all. The Journey, the second work in Pitol’s remarkable “Trilogy of Memory” (which Deep Vellum is publishing in its entirety), won him the prestigious Cervantes Prize in 2005 and inspired the newest generation of Spanish-language writers, represents the perfect example of one of the world’s greatest authors at the peak of his power.
The Magician of Vienna
The heartbreaking final volume in Sergio Pitol’s groundbreaking memoir-essay-fiction-hybrid “Trilogy of Memory” finds Pitol boldly and passionately weaving fiction and autobiography together to tell of his life lived through literature as a way to stave off the advancement of a degenerative neurological condition causing him to lose the use of language. Fiction invades autobiography–and vice versa–as Pitol writes to forestall the advancement of degenerative memory loss.