El viaje vertical
El viaje vertical

The Vertical Journey

El viaje vertical

Federico Mayol is a seventy year old gentleman from Barcelona. He is the father of three children, a catholic al-though not a churchgoer, a recently retired successful businessman, a tall and distinguished patriotic Catalan, a poker player and ex-politician who at the age of fourteen had to abandon school due to the Spanish Civil War. The day after celebrating is golden wedding anniversary, Mayol is astonished to hear the categorical petition of his wife asking him to leave the marital home; to allow her be herself, not her husband's tributary creature which she has been for half a century. Suddenly Mayol´s whole life is shaken: his orderly life and his confortable sofa. At first, Mayol thinks that it must be all a joke but it is not. During the following tragic week, Mayol looks for support among his friends but many of them are already dead. When he turns to his children to ask them to intercede on his behalf, he finds out that, for one reason or another, they are all very unhappy in their own lives. At his age, Mayol seems incapable of rebuilding his life and decides to go on a journey. In the geographical sense it will be a vertical voyage that starts by strolling in a good-for nothing attitude through a Barcelona that makes no sense to him, then going on to Oporto, Lisbon and from there to the island to Madeira, to end up in the foggy and mysteri-ous Atlantida. In the brink of desperation he discovers himself reflecting. Little by little Mayol begins to feel less desperate. He starts to see life from the outside as if he were a living dead and he surprises himself imagining new and unexpected things. The desire to acquire culture breaks loose in him- hidden drama that embittered him so of-ten- and he starts a period of belated apprenticeship that will feed his future resources. Mayol deepens into his in-ner self at the same time opening to the world.

SERIESNarrativas hispánicas


  • France (Christian Bourgois & 10/18)
  • Portugal (Assírio & Alvim)
  • Switzerland (Nagel & Kimche)
  • Brazil (Cosac & Naify)
  • Israel (Keter)
  • Norway (Solum)
  • Greece (Kastaniotis)
  • Italy (Voland)
  • People's Republic of China (Beijing Publishing House)
Enrique Vila-Matas

Enrique Vila-Matas

Enrique Vila-Matas was born in Barcelona in 1948 and has published a large body of narrative since his first work in 1973. He is a regular contributor to the press. He was awarded the Prize Ciudad de Barcelona and the prestigious Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger for Bartleby y companía. In 2001 he was given the Rómulo Gallegos Prize for El viaje vertical, the most coveted award for fiction in Latin America. El mal de Montano won the XXX Premio Herralde de Novela, the Critic's Award, in 2002, the Prix Médicis Etranger 2003 and the Premio Internazionale Ennio Flaiano.


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