Like a Fading Shadow by Antonio Muñoz Molina

Like a Fading Shadow traces the steps of James Earl Ray during the 2 months after he murdered Martin Luther King and evaded the FBI.  At the heart of his story is Lisbon, where he spent ten days attempting to acquire an Angolan visa.

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On April 4th 1968, Martin Luther King was murdered by a man named James Earl Ray.

Before Ray’s capture and sentencing to 99 years’ imprisonment, he evaded the FBI for two months as he crossed the globe under various aliases. At the heart of his story is Lisbon, where he spent ten days attempting to acquire an Angolan visa.

Like a Fading Shadow traces three journeys to the city: Ray’s desperate attempt to evade justice in 1968; a research trip undertaken by the young Muñoz Molina for his breakthrough novel Winter in Lisbon in 1987; and the return journey taken by the novelist as he attempts to reconstruct these twin stories from the instability of the past, and interrogates his own obsession with one of the twentieth century’s most notorious figures.

Aided by the recent declassification of James Earl Ray’s FBI case file, Like a Fading Shadow boldly weaves a taut retelling of Ray’s assassination of King, his time on the run and his eventual capture together with a highly original, fearlessly honest examination of the novelist’s own past.

Weight288 g
Dimensions196 × 132 × 21 mm



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Exhilarating … exceptional … a necessary novel

Adam Feinstein, Financial Times

Antonio Muñoz Molina is a true original and has written a book unlike anything else: part fiction, part memoir, part meditation, in which the interiority of a murderer on the run – and not just any murderer but James Earl Ray, the assassin of Martin Luther King – is set against the interiority of the writer, when young, trying to find his voice. The stories of the killer and the writer circle each other, interrogate and echo each other, and then diverge. A novel is a kind of refuge too, Muñoz Molina suggests. Only one of the two men in this terrific book will find the refuge he seeks

Salman Rushdie

Author Antonio Muñoz MolinaAntonio Muñoz Molina is the author of more than a dozen novels, including In the Night of Time, Sepharad, and A Manuscript of Ashes. He is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including Spain’s National Narrative Prize, the Planeta Prize, and the Príncipe de Asturias Prize. He lives in Madrid and New York City.


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