To Walk Alone in the Crowd
Author: Antonio Muñoz Molina; Translated from the Spanish by Guillermo Bleichmar
Winner of the 2020 Medici Prize for Foreign Novel
From the award-winning author of the Man Booker Prize finalist Like a Fading Shadow, Antonio Muñoz Molina presents a flâneur-novel tracing the path of a nameless wanderer as he walks the length of Manhattan, and his mind.
De Quincey, Baudelaire, Poe, Joyce, Benjamin, Melville, Lorca, Whitman . . . walkers and city dwellers all, collagists and chroniclers, picking the detritus of their eras off the filthy streets and assembling it into something new, shocking, and beautiful. In To Walk Alone in the Crowd, Antonio Muñoz Molina emulates these classic inspirations, following their peregrinations and telling their stories in a book that is part memoir, part novel, part chronicle of urban wandering.
A skilled collagist himself, Muñoz Molina here assembles overheard conversations, subway ads, commercials blazing away on public screens, snatches from books hurriedly packed into bags or shoved under one’s arm, mundane anxieties, and the occasional true flash of insight—struggling to announce itself amid this barrage of data—into a poem of contemporary life: an invitation to let oneself be carried along by the sheer energy of the digital metropolis.
A denunciation of the harsh noise of capitalism, of the conversion of everything into either merchandise or garbage (or both), To Walk Alone in the Crowd is also a celebration of the beauty and variety of our world, of the ecological and aesthetic gaze that can, even now, recycle waste into art, and provide an opportunity for rebirth.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux