Pavel Lembersky and Jose Manuel Prieto will read from their novels and talk about how their unique émigré experiences shaped their writing and brought forth idiosyncratic new worlds of two very different protagonists.
Pavel Lembersky’s recently published novel, Aboard the 500th Jolly Echelon tells a detective story in jazzily syncopated language with unlikely twists and philosophical implications. Jose Manuel Prieto’s Nocturnal Butterflies of the Russian Empire, a book “woven from an abundance of subtle threads”, is a story of love, smuggling and a search for an elusive butterfly.
“Imagine Borges writing philosophical conceptual anecdotes using the sparkling language of Isaac Babel. Sometimes the significant parts are located in the breaks between the [Pavel Lembersky’s] phrases, and one can feel the draught of pain and despair blowing from those gaps which perhaps irony alone can suppress.” – Anton Nesterov, «Nezavisimaia Gazeta»
“[Jose Manuel] Prieto seems as comfortable writing about the Crimea as he is about Istanbul, Finland, or Milan, his eyes wide open, his mind working, … steadily producing wonder and a few chuckles …. Nabokov’s spirit, alive and kind, has touched him with its butterfly wings.” –Aleksandar Hernon, The Village Voice Literary Supplement
Pavel Lembersky came to the United States in 1977. He graduated from The University of California at Berkeley with a degree in comparative literature, did graduate work in film at San Francisco State University, and worked on film projects with Jonathan Demme and Spalding Gray, among others.
Lembersky writes his prose and screenplays in Russian and in English. He authored three collections of short stories River #7 (Slovo/Word, New York, 2000), The City Of Vanishing Spaces (Drugie Berega, Tver, 2002) and A Unique Occurrence (The Russian Gulliver, Moscow, 2009). Lembersky’s work was included in The Anthology of Short Stories (ACT, Moscow, 2000). His short stories have been translated into English, German, Finnish and Vietnamese and have appeared in literary magazines in Moscow, New York, Munich, Jerusalem and Helsinki such as Solo, The New Review, 22, Little Star, Habitus, Calque, Kommentarii , Words Without Borders, and many others. Pavel Lembersky is a frequent contributor to Teatr, Foreign Literature and Snob magazines as well as OpenSpace.ru. Aboard the 500th Jolly Echelon (Franc-Tireur-USA, 2011) is Lembersky’s first novel.
José Manuel Prieto
José Manuel Prieto was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1962. He is the author of several works of fiction and nonfiction including the international acclaimed Nocturnal Butterflies of the Russian Empire and Rex among others. Prieto’s work has been translated to many languages with an exceptional critical reception. He has been a Fellow at The New York Public Library’s Center for Scholars and Writers and has received a Guggenheim Fellowship. Prieto has also translated the works or many Russian authors into Spanish, among others, Andrei Platonov, Anna Ajmatova, Iosif Brodsky, Vladimir Maiakovski.
Jose Manuel Prieto is an assistant professor at Seton Hall University and has taught at Cornell University and Princeton University. His currently lives in New York where he has finished his most recent novel Human Voice.