A Novel of City Walks Pays Tribute to Flâneurs of the Past

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By Martin Riker

TO WALK ALONE IN THE CROWD
By Antonio Muñoz Molina
Translated by Guillermo Bleichmar

The flâneur is literature’s most leisurely radical. A writer walks around, looks at things, writes about them. Our lives are busy with activities, but the flâneur simply watches. Our stories are packed with plots and characters, but the flâneur proposes that paying attention is the only thing literature needs to do. The flâneur encounters the city in both space and time, as the people and places in front of them and all the history that came before, which, added to the flâneur’s own thoughts and experiences, form a map of what it means to be alive.

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