Like a Fading Shadow

Antonio Muñoz Molina, trans. from the Spanish by Camilo A. Ramirez. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-0-374-12690-2
Blurring fiction, memoir, and biography, the absorbing latest from Molina tells two stories: James Earl Ray’s 10-day excursion to Lisbon while on the run after assassinating Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, and the author’s own research trip to the same city in 1987 when writing his first novel, A Winter in Lisbon. Ray, living under an alias, travels using a Canadian passport and chooses Lisbon on a whim. Once there, he sleeps with prostitutes, drinks, and attempts to gain passage to Rhodesia, where he believes the colony’s white supremacist movement will embrace him. Nearly 20 years later, Molina, a new father, travels to Lisbon for the first time, looking for literary inspiration. As his travels to Portugal continue over the years, his marriage dissolves, he takes up with a new partner, and he becomes interested in Ray’s brief stay. The novel reconstructs the past with incredible detail, and Molina spins multiple possibilities for moments when Ray’s actions are uncertain. The result is a fascinating dual portrait of a writer looking into the clouded mind of a murderer. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/29/2017
Release date: 07/18/2017
Ebook - 978-0-374-71416-1
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