Sunday, October 11, 2009

Antonio Muñoz Molina

"I have never known the tranquillity of living and belonging in one particular place. I think this is the fate of many people of my generation and social class.

We grew up in a world that bore little resemblance to that of our childhood. Education opened doors to us that had been closed to our parents, but the rooms they led into were foreign to us.

During vacations, we returned from the university to our small towns, but felt at home in neither place. Academic failure or an economic setback might easily send us back to the small town and some dull job there.

We thought we were divided between the old world of our roots and a new one in which we were citizens.

I worked in an office, but in my other life I was a novelist — although nobody knew it. I published a novel and the rift, instead of closing, grew deeper. I would take a train to Madrid for a literary get-together, only to feel like a municipal employee who had shown up at the wrong meeting. But back at the office in Granada I would feel even more foreign.

I always seemed to be surrounded by people whose position in the world was far more solid than mine.

I thought it would be a question of time, of maturity, but the feeling of impermanence and uncertainty stayed with me whatever I did…."

[A translation of the Spanish writer ANTONIO MUÑOZ MOLINA seemingly speaking for many writers (as well as others) in El País earlier this month.]

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