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Like a Fading Shadow interview

Like a Fading Shadow interview

Antonio Muñoz Molina tells us about the act of depicting a younger version of himself in his novel Like a Fading Shadow, and translator Camilo Ramirez offers insight into the differences of his work as a literary translator and his day job as communications specialist working on criminal justice reform.

This is part of our series of Man Booker International Prize 2018 longlist interviews.*


Antonio Muñoz Molina, author of Like a Fading Shadow   

What has it been like to be longlisted?

It came like a thunderbolt. A heady mix of disbelief and hope. A long shot indeed, but still a shot.

Can you give us a taste of your longlisted novel Like a Fading Shadow?

At the heart of the novel there is a twofold quest: the one for such an ultimately unknowable character as James Earl Ray, Martin Luther King's assassin; the other, for my own much younger self, both of them having in common a flight to Lisbon.

How much of a fictional character is your younger self as depicted in the novel?

What can you know for sure about the person you were 30 years ago? You see a picture of yourself and you hardly recognize that face, much less the mind peering through it. You feel almost as fictional as a fully made up character. But it doesn’t 't save you from regret...


Camilo Ramirez, translator of  Like a Fading Shadow

What has it been like to be longlisted?

It’s been great. This is a fantastic novel and I feel very lucky that I got the opportunity to bring it to an English-speaking readership.

What did you most like about translating Like a Fading Shadow?

It was a great honor to work with Antonio. He’s one of the most creative writers working today -- always willing to take risks and push the limits of what is possible within the novel form. Like a Fading Shadow is a perfect example of this. My favorite challenge with this book was capturing the rhythm of Antonio’s writing, particularly the feverish sections that run through the mind of James Earl Ray and the chapter that is told from Dr. King’s perspective.

You combine literary translation with a day job as a communications specialist working on criminal justice reform. Is there any way in which the two inform each other?

Yes, I love working with language and both activities allow me to do so in different ways. With literary translation, my focus is on recreating the rhythm of an author’s writing in a different language. With media advocacy, it’s about the power of language and stories to reframe ideas and conversations.


*Antonio Muñoz Molina and Camilo Ramirez have now been shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker International Prize - the interview questions were written ahead of the announcement.