Acclaimed Mexican author Sergio Pitol dies
The author of works such as "El desfile del amor " (The Love Parade) and "El arte de la fuga " (The Art of Flight) is dead at 85.
Renowned Mexican writer Sergio Pitol, winner of Spain's prestigious Cervantes Prize in 2005, died Thursday at his home in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, people close to the author told EFE. He was 85.
Pitol, whose works have been translated into more than a half-dozen languages, was suffering from primary progressive aphasia, a disease that over the past year had left him paralyzed and unable to talk.
The author of works such as "El desfile del amor" (The Love Parade), "El arte de la fuga" (The Art of Flight), "El viaje" (The Journey) and "El mago de Viena" (The Magician of Vienna) spent his final days at his house in downtown Xalapa, Veracruz's capital, a residence housing 12,000 books that Pitol decided to donate to the University of Veracruz upon his death.
Pitol also was an acclaimed translator who produced Spanish-language editions of works by literary giants such as Henry James, Jane Austen and Joseph Conrad.
Mexican author Jorge Volpi told EFE that Pitol was "one of the most important Spanish-language writers of the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st."
The 49-year-old Volpi said he was able to spend time with Pitol shortly before his disease became too debilitating and that he was heavily influenced by the mixture of genres apparent in the late author's work.
"That breaking with genre boundaries was always an example for me," Volpi said.
In that regard, he mentioned Pitol's memoirs, which he says weave fiction and autobiography and have influenced several generations of writers.
Volpi also describes the 1984 work "El desfile del amor," whose plot centers on a historian attempting to solve a murder mystery, as one of the greatest Mexican novels of all time.
Pitol was awarded Spain's Cervantes Prize, the highest literary honor in the Spanish-speaking world, in 2005 in recognition of his full body of work.