Alejo Carpentier was director of Cuba's National Press, which published many millions of volumes in an ambitious program, and for some years was Cuba's ambassador to France. A composer and musicologist, he consciously applied the principles of musical composition in much of his work. Imprisoned for political activity in , he escaped with the aid of Robert Desnos, a French surrealist poet, to Paris, where he joined the literary circle of surrealists Louis Aragon, Tristan Tzara, and Paul Eluard. According to Carpentier surrealism influenced his style and helped him to see "aspects of American life he had not previously seen, in their telluric, epic, and poetic contexts. The Lost Steps takes the form of a diary of a Cuban musician and intellectual who seeks escape from civilization during his trip to a remote Amazon village in search of native musical instruments. The short stories "The Road to Santiago," "Journey to the Seed," and "Similar to Night," present time as subjective rather than historical, and capable of remarkable personal variations.
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Coming soon. A composer, fleeing an empty existence in New York City, takes a journey with his mistress to one of the few remaining areas of the world not yet touched by civilization-the upper reaches of a great South American river.
An erudite yet absorbing adventure story. A book full of riches-stylistic, sensory, visual. The Lost Steps describes his search, his adventures, and the remarkable decision he makes in a village that seems to be truly outside history.
Born in Havana, he lived for many years in France and Venezuela but returned to Cuba after the revolution. A classic example of magic realism and a principal influence on later works in this genre. University of Minnesota Press Coming soon. Home Current Catalogs Blog. View Cart Checkout.
Search Site only in current section. Advanced Search…. The Lost Steps Three works of fiction by the inventor of magic realism-now back in print! The greatest novel to have appeared in Latin America in our time. Related Publications The Chase Three works of fiction by the inventor of magic realism-now back in print! Explosion in a Cathedral Three works of fiction by the inventor of magic realism-now back in print!
The Lost Steps
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The Lost Steps was first published as Los pasos perdidos in Mexico in It was written whilst Alejo Carpentier was living in Caracas, Venezuela, an exile from his native Cuba which at that time was under the dictator Batista. The novel; begins in what seems to be New York City. It is never named as such, but in the early chapters Carpentier satirises a cultural Bohemia which is reminiscent of Greenwich Village. He then moves to Latin-America — at first to what appears to be Caracas in Venezuela. His journey then takes him through what is a geographic composite of South America, initially across the Andes mountains, then into the great plains, and finally into the most impenetrable parts of the jungle. The protagonist progresses from the contemporary metropolital city to what are essentially farmlands, then to a primitive village, and finally to encampments where people live in an almost stone-age elementalism.