Walter Mosley is definitely smarter than me. And probably you too.
He's scary smart and impressively opinionated. He takes no prisoners and pulls no punches. As the child of a mixed race couple (ain't we all?), he not only has no problem playing the race card but delights in doing all sorts of card tricks, using them to illuminate, to educate, to galvanize, to anger, to poke and to prod. But he has more than one card to play, race being just the most obvious one. He has a full deck of topics and subjects, and he plays them all. He's more than ready to talk not just about race, but about politics, morality, sexuality, philosophy, gender roles, ethics, the law, the meaning of life and comic books.
Yeah, comic books. That's the other thing about Walter. He's not just the owner of a fierce and vast intellect, but he's also a bit of a goof.
For all the keen intellect and fury he can display as an essayist, political speaker and novelist, he also is a man of great and surprisingly varied passions. Over a long and acclaimed career, he's written not just crime and science fiction, but also allegorial parables and young adult fiction. He's written essays, political monographs, social commentary and erotica, and in the handful of times I've been fortunate enough to conversed with him, he's waxed eloquently not just on detective fiction and his admiration of Ross Macdonald, but also on The Fantastic Four, Danny Glover, Richard Prior and Robert Johnson.
I'd call him a renaissance man, but that might be giving him short shrift, due to the fact that Mosley is very much a guy firmly locked into the here and now, full of passion and zest about the things that interest him, not flitting about like a dilettante hummingbird between dusty topics nobody gives a damn about.
His ever-expanding areas of interest have resulted in a torrent of short stories and novellas, published in a wide array of publications including The New Yorker, GQ, Esquire, USA Weekend and The Los Angeles Times Magazine. But even that's not enough -- lately, Mosley has taken advantage of digital self-publishing in a big way to keep up with his output.
For example, his Tempest Tales is a series of parables very much inspired (and intended as homage to) Langston Hughes' "Simple Stories." Tempest Landry is a black man gunned down by white cops who finds himself banned from Heaven and sent back to Earth as an angel until he accepts St. Peter's judgement. First launched in 2001 in Savoy, the series is still going strong, filling (so far) two collections, the last published as recently as 2015.
He' also penned a string of six sci-fi novellas, dubbed the Crosstown to Oblivion series, in which he explores some of life's cosmic questions.
He has won numerous awards, including the Anisfield Wolf Award, an honor given to works that increase the appreciation and understanding of race in America, and the TransAfrica International Literary Prize for all of his work. In 2002 he won a Grammy for his liner notes accompanying Richard Pryor...And It’s Deep Too!: The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings (1968-1992) from Warner Archives / Rhino Entertainment. He was a finalist for the NAACP Award in Fiction and won the 1996 Black Caucus of the American Library Association's Literary Award (for RL’s Dream). Mosley also was an O Henry Award winner in 1996 (for a Socrates Fortlow story) and is featured in Prize Stories 1996: The O Henry Awards edited by William Abraham. In 2005 he was honored by Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute with a “Risktaker Award” for both his creative and activist efforts. Mosley also was given an honorary doctorate by The City College and the 2004 Lifetime Achievement Award by PEN USA.
Mosley created with The City University of New York (CUNY) a new publishing degree program aimed at young urban residents. It is the only such program in the country. A past president of the Mystery Writers of America, Mosley serves on the board of directors of the National Book Awards and presently serves on the boards of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, The Poetry Society of America and TransAfrica.
Mind you, there's a reason he's on this site. He is also, of course, the creator of Easy Rawlins, one of the most celebrated and influential private eyes of all time.
Walter Mosley's books have been into at least twenty-one languages. His popular mysteries featuring Easy Rawlins and his friend Raymond "Mouse" Alexander began with Devil in a Blue Dress. It was published by W.W. Norton in 1990, and was nominated for an Edgar. The TriStar film, "Devil in a Blue Dress," produced by Jonathan Demme, directed by Carl Franklin, and starring Denzel Washington and Jennifer Beals was released in the fall of 1995 and garnered critical acclaim and many awards. Others in the series, A Red Death and White Butterfly were also nominated for several awards. Black Betty and A Little Yellow Dog were New York Times bestsellers.
The independent Black Classic Press located in Baltimore, Maryland published the prequel to the Rawlins' series in January 1997. Mosley decided to give a novel to a small black publishing house, because he felt it was important "to create a model that other writers, black or not, can look at to see that it's possible to publish a book successfully outside mainstream publishing in New York." Gone Fishin' was published in paperback by Pocket in January 1998. Audio rights went to Dove Audio and the first serial was sold to Essence.
W.W. Norton published Mosley's blues novel, RL's Dream in 1995 to critical acclaim. It was a finalist for the NAACP Award in Fiction and won the 1996 Black Caucus of the American Library Association's Literary Award. Washington Square Press published the book in paperback. In the fall of 1997, Mosley introduced a new character, ex-con Socrates Fortlow, whose move to contemporary Los Angeles infuses the episodic tales with ethical and political considerations. W.W. Norton published Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned: The Socrates Fortlow Stories, excerpts from which have been published in Esquire, GQ, USA Weekend, Buzz, and Mary Higgins Clark Mystery Magazine. One of these new stories was an O'Henry Award winner for 1996 and is featured in Prize Stories 1996: The O'Henry Awards edited by William Abraham. The collection of stories was made into an HBO/NYC and Palomar Pictures film, starring Laurence Fishburne, Natalie Cole, Cicely Tyson and Bill Cobbs. The feature, directed by Michael Apted ("Gorillas in the Mist") had a screenplay written by Mosley and premiered on HBO on March 21, 1998. The book was also awarded the Anisfield Wolf Award, an honor given to works that increase the appreciation and understanding of race in America.
Little Brown & Company published the next installment in the life of Socrates Fortlow, Walkin' The Dog in the fall of 1999. HBO once again commissioned a Mosley screenplay to be based on this new collection. Little Brown & Company also published Mosley's first science fiction novel, Blue Light in November 1998. The book was on The Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle bestseller lists and won accolades for its daring invention and vision. He was also awarded the TransAfrica International Literary Prize this same season for all of his work. In the winter of 2000, Mosley joined the list of luminaries writing for The Library of Contemporary Thought, published by Ballantine Books. His work, "Workin' on the Chain Gang" used the perspective of race history to examine the American economic and political machine. This year, The New York Times included Mosley's contribution to the newspaper's series, "Writers on Writing," in their book publication of those columns.
In 1996 Mosley was named the first Artist-in-Residence, at the Africana Studies Institute, New York University. Since that residency, he has continued to work with the department, creating an innovative lecture series entitled "Black Genius" which brings diverse speakers from art, politics and academe to discuss practical solutions to contemporary issues. Designed as a "public classroom" these lectures have included speakers ranging from Spike Lee to Angela Davis. In February 1999, W.W. Norton published the collection as Black Genius, with a Mosley introduction and essay.
In 2001 Mosley returned to the mystery world with the debut of the 'Fearless Jones' series, set in 1950's Los Angeles and introducing second-hand bookstore owner Paris Minton and his best friend, war veteran Fearless Jones, the novel is already garnering early praise.
Mosley created with the City University of New York (CUNY) a new publishing certificate program aimed at young urban residents. It is the only such program in the country. Mosley also serves on the board of directors of the National Book Awards, The Poetry Society of America, and is past-president of the Mystery Writers of America. He lives in New York City.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Walter Mosley, author of the Easy Rawlins mysteries series, tackles a new genre with almost every novel. Like some of his previous work, Fortunate Son explores America's racial divide, but it does so in a fairy tale or parable about race, fate, luck, love, and redemption. Critics generally agree that Mosley succeeds in this genre; darkness, concise writing, compassion, social criticism, and questions about which son is "fortunate" resound loudly. Only the New York Times faulted Mosley for his stereotypical characters, predictability, and lack of tension. In the end, Fortunate Son may or may not live up to Easy Rawlins, but it remains a strong tale about love transcending all boundaries.<BR>Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
From Publishers Weekly
When Errol's long-dead father calls him in the middle of the night, Errol learns about "the Wave," a billion-year-old organism slowly creeping to Earth's surface and reanimating corpses into healthy vibrant replicas of their former selves with virtually intact memories. The more Errol learns, the more he comes to respect and identify with the living organism and seeks to protect it from the deadly machinations of the military. As the tale unravels through Errol's eyes, Tim Cain provides a steady and smooth tone for the narrative passages that corresponds well to Errol's speaking parts. Cain's use of emphasis for particular words and sentences jump out so that even the most inattentive listener picks up the important pieces. The soft and gentle style spoken by Errol's father, GT, generally corresponds to the nature of his character. GT's tone might also ignite the image of a hippie, which makes sense given the peace and love that his species promote. Cain's other vocal characterizations maintain a decent semblance to the people described within the text. His distinct, deep voice delivers emotion and intensity throughout the story, making it easy for any listener to enjoy. Simultaneous release with the Aspect hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 7). (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Walter Mosley is best known for his crime stories. With THE WAVE he proves he's just as skilled at writing science fiction/horror, and Tim Cain is just the narrator to deliver it. The story begins with a telephone call to Errol Porter from his father. The trouble is, Errol's father is long dead. Cain brings an air of innocence to his performance that is vital to the story. The listener must believe, on some level, that a confused young man somehow is Errol's father, even though it's impossible. Cain is equally adept at delivering the buttery tones of Errol's Jamaican girlfriend and the voice of the cold-hearted villain, who believes he is stopping an alien invasion. M.S. © AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
From Publishers Weekly
The isolation and ineffectuality of the American left is lamented in this brooding, somewhat unfocused cri de coeur. Writing primarily for an African-American audience, novelist Mosley (the Easy Rawlins mystery series) argues that today's political myopia and paralysis are caused by a lack of "context." Americans, he contends, dwell on their own problems while ignoring the global context of oppression and exploitationin Iraq, Africa and elsewherein which they are complicit. They are in turn shut out of decision-making forums, whose agenda is set mainly by the narrow interests of the wealthy and privileged. The efforts of progressive groups, meanwhile, lack any unified context and rallying point, and are therefore fragmented and dispersed among a myriad of causes. These musings prompt a number of suggestions, some of whichlike giant downtown video screens to project images of humanitarian crises abroadthe author almost immediately retracts. Mosley's most substantive proposal is to challenge the two-party duopoly with a black political party; unfortunately, however, he does not discuss ways to lower the formidable institutional barriers to third parties in the American electoral system. In the end, he falls back on platitudes about the need for citizens to get involved and speak truth to power. Fine sentiments, indeed, but they fall well short of a cogent guide to action. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From Workin' on the Chain Gang: Shaking Off the Dead Hand of Slavery (2000) to his popular genre fiction, Mosley's writing has always questioned the status quo. Now, in this short, passionate essay, he confronts his deep sense of political disengagement, and he calls on African Americans to get away from victimhood and take on responsibility for people of color, not only in America but also across the world. He is inspired by personal encounters with Hugh Masekela and Harry Belafonte, but Mosley speaks to ordinary people ("We are not only performers. We are also the rank and file"). He urges everyone to sit at the table, not in the yard, and to listen to the young. Sure to spark controversy, one chapter calls for a Black Party that will focus on prison reform, suffrage for all ex-convicts, universal health care, global child labor, and more. Never hectoring or self-righteous, the naive personal style may do what Mosley wants--call some readers to action and bring them to the table. Hazel Rochman
Futureland is bestselling mystery author Walter Mosley's first science fiction book since Blue Light, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Futureland's nine linked stories will provide an accessible and intelligent introduction to written science fiction for mystery or mainstream fiction fans who do not normally read the genre.
Experienced science fiction readers, however, may be less than satisfied with Futureland. Reading it, you might decide Mr. Mosley grew up reading SF, respects the genre, and still watches SF movies, but has read little SF written during or after the New Wave of the 1960s. However, something more may be going on here than a genre newcomer making beginning-SF-writer mistakes. Mr. Mosley may be deliberately, and craftily, creating SF accessible to his large non-SF readership and to others who are strangers to this genre.
Some have labeled Futureland cyberpunk, and it does present a dark, infotech-saturated, corporation-controlled future; but it is in fact an inversion of cyberpunk. Instead of that subgenre's cliche of cool, cutting-edge, street-smart, but not very believable outlaws who out-hack and outwit powerful multinational corporations, this Dante-esque collection presents outlaws and outcasts who may be street-wise, but who have little chance of overcoming the corporations and governments that control, and sometimes take, their lives. Like shockingly few other SF works, Futureland directly examines the lives of the working and the nonworking classes, the poor and the marginalized, the criminal and the criminalized. In other words, Futureland is set in a world quite alien to many veteran SF readers, and is therefore a book they should try. --Cynthia Ward
From Publishers Weekly
After the qualified success of his first science fiction novel, Blue Light (1998), Mosley (best known for such mystery fiction as the Easy Rawlins series) returns with nine linked short stories set in a grim, cyberpunkish near-future. Unfortunately, heavy-handed plotting and unconvincing extrapolation weaken the collection's earnest social message. "Whispers in the Dark" introduces prodigy Ptolemy Bent, who will grow to be the smartest man in the world in spite of his poverty-ridden childhood. Ptolemy reappears in "Doctor Kismet" as an adviser to assassins trying to kill the richest, most corrupt man in the world and as the brains behind a series of global plots to overthrow the status quo in "En Masse" and "The Nig in Me." Champion boxer and much-hyped female role model Fera Jones steps away from the ring to take hands-on responsibility for the influence she wields in "The Greatest." With its easily befuddled talking computer justice system, "Little Brother" is more Star Trek than high-tech cyberpunk. In more familiar territory for Mosley, PI Folio Johnson investigates a series of murders linked to Doctor Kismet in "The Electric Eye." Although packaged as SF, this book is likely to disappoint readers of that genre who've already seen Mosley's themes of racial and economic rebellion more convincingly handled by authors like Octavia Butler. Mystery fans, on the other hand, are far more likely to embrace this latest example of Mosley's SF vision, with its comfortably familiar noirish tone and characters, than they did Blue Light. (Nov. 12)Forecast: With a five-city author tour and national print advertising, both mainstream and genre, this title book should be slated for solid sales.
Despite the success of his color-coded Easy Rawlins series, Walter Mosley dares, with Blue Light, to go where few mystery writers have gone before. The novel is pure (if not simple) science fiction, less evocative of Philip Marlow than Philip K. Dick. It begins during the 1960s, when flashes of extraterrestrial blue light enter the bodies of several Northern Californians. Those struck by the flashes immediately take on superhuman abilities. Mosley's narrator, Chance, is not himself a recipient of the heaven-sent beams, but after a blood transfusion from the leader of the Blues, his consciousness expands. The biracial, suicidal Thucydides scholar becomes a supernal historian of his new, blue-inflected peer group. He dreams of a "far-flung future, when science is not estranged from the soul" and where human beings will see the world with the purified vision of his enlightened brethren. Still, he is powerless in the face of the Gray Man--a vicious incarnation of evil who seems intent on wiping out the entire Blue population. Somber and violent, bizarre and oddly reverent, Blue Light marks a promising new direction for Mosley. What's more, the dangling threads at the end intimate a vast epic to come (Mosley has suggested that a trilogy awaits) and a literary challenge that's anything but Easy. --Patrick O'Kelley
From Publishers Weekly
You have to admire Mosley: with a gilt-edged brand-name character (Easy Rawlins)in his locker, he still can't resist venturing off in new directions. Sometimes his effort to break new ground works beautifully, as in RL's Dream; sometimes it's an interesting misfire, as in Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned.This time, however, it seems plain misguided. Blue Light is an odd mixture of science fiction and inspirational fable about a sort of cosmic ray that enters into a handful of people, giving them superhuman faculties, and the struggle some of these ultra-evolved folk have with the spirit of Death, who has also been granted special powers. Beginning in Berkeley during the hippie love days (well observed, as Mosley's West Coast scenes always are) and eventually migrating into the deep forests of the Sierra, where a group of "blues" create a sort of idyllic pastoral retreat, the story is mostly told from the viewpoint of Chance, a half-breed drifter. One of its more original aspects is that several of the characters, enacting roles similar to those often given by other writers to Native American shamans and seers, are black. There are some jolting scenes of sexuality and violence, and some arresting images, like the vocalizing trees experienced by the "blues"; but the biology is insufficiently imagined, the time sequence is sometimes confusing and a sort of vague poesy that is a far cry from Mosley's typically sinewy prose is the predominant style. Time-Warner audio; author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Once he had dreamed up the Easy Rawlins series, with its colored-coded titles and suave protagonist, Walter Mosley could have coasted for the rest of his life. Instead he delved into impressionistic fiction (RL's Dream) and sci-fi (Blue Light)--and came up with his own variant on Ellison's invisible man, a forbidding ex-con named Socrates Fortlow. The author first introduced this inner-city philosopher in Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, allowing him to vault one ethical hurdle after another. Now Socrates returns in Walkin' the Dog, still operating out of his tiny Watts apartment, still figuring precisely what to make of his freedom.
Like his dog, Killer--a spirited mutt who's missing his two hind legs--Socrates has to contend with a number of severe handicaps. Forget the fact that he's a black man in a white society. He's also the fall guy for every crime committed in the vicinity, a scapegoat of near-biblical proportions:
The police always came. They came when a grocery store was robbed or a child was mugged. They came for every dead body with questions and insinuations. Sometimes they took him off to jail. They had searched his house and given him a ticket for not having a license for his two-legged dog. They dropped by on a whim at times just in case he had done something that even they couldn't suspect.
Yet Socrates is no poster child for racial victimization. Why? Because Mosley never soft-pedals the fact that he is, or was, a murderer. "He was a bad man," we are assured at one point. "He had done awful things." Deprived of any sort of sentimental pulpit, Socrates makes his moral determinations on the fly. Should he admit that he killed a mugger in self-defense? Can he force his adopted son Darryl to stay in school? Should he murder a corrupt cop who's terrorized his entire neighborhood? His answers are consistently surprising, and that fact--combined with the author's shrewd, no-nonsense prose--should make every reader long for Mosley's next excursion into the Socratic method. --James Marcus --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Mosley can readily manage more than one empathetic series hero, and in Socrates Fortlow, introduced in Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, he has a winner. Socrates is a former jailbird doing his best to go straight in a seamy Los Angeles full of temptation, and the novel is an examination, as powerfully relaxed as Socrates himself, of how his life works. He lives in a tiny shack in a back alley in Watts, tries to stay out of the way of the ever-suspicious cops, does a little loving (the cheerful sensuality of Mosley's writing about sex strikes exactly the right note), unwittingly acts as a role model for an unhappy teenager and eventually becomes a national symbol for his placard-wielding protest against police brutality. Where some writers would make this the pivot of their plot, it is no more than incidental to this tale, as Socrates continues to go on his quiet, unostentatious way until the fuss dies down. This is a deceptively low-key book that sneaks up on a reader with the realization of how much can be revealed by artfully chosen, dead-accurate dialogue, and how fully a uniquely admirable and always unexpected personality has been brought to life. Time Warner audio; 6-city author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Acclaimed novelist Walter Mosley spins a different yarn in Workin' on the Chain Gang, imploring citizens to solve the social, economic, racial, and political crimes of late-20th-century civilization. Mosley takes aim at the average American's feelings of disempowerment and--while he is quick to point out the role race plays--he also states: "The problem facing Americans today does not originate from racial conflict. The problem is the enslavement of a whole nation to the rather small and insignificant goals of the few who own (or control) almost everything." Mosley covers a lot of ground--from Plato's Republic to his own bid for the presidency--but through it all, his faith rests in the individual to change the world through changing his or her own world; he cites as an example his creative powers as a writer to turn fiction into reality. Mosley calls for us to "recognize some of the restraints placed on us by the organization of labor and popular culture, then to see, from a calm place, that there might be a world in our hearts that we would like to realize, first by speaking out, then by shouting out, and finally by action." --Eugene Holley Jr.
From Publishers Weekly
Mosley, the author of the popular and critically acclaimed Easy Rawlins mystery series and other novels, issues an ardent manifesto that addresses the political and economic "chains that define our range of motion and our ability to reach for the higher goals" under capitalism, and argues that these "chains might be more recognizable in the black experience, but they restrain us all." Pointing out how "history, economics, self-image, the media, politics and our misuse of technology" limit us, Mosley boldly calls for an aggressive reevaluation of how public information, social life, work and identity are constructed in the United States, invoking a simple axiom: "What we need is a reexamination of the people and their needs." While he claims not to be specifically advocating socialism, he targets an economic system that values corporate profits over the lives and well-being of workers as the main source of psychic and physical pain and ill health in our society. His evaluation of U.S. politics is harsh ("What kind of democracy gives you two candidates who represent less than 5 percent of the population?"), but his message is idealistic, even utopian in its simplicity. In the end, Mosley urges his readers to take responsibility for their own lives and to use their imaginations to envision a new world: "The only way out is to be crazy, to imagine the impossible... to say what it is you want." Less a rigorous political proposal than a cri de coeur against the stifling of the human spirit, Mosley's short book is a bracing and provocative declaration of intellectual and political independence. (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In August 1961, the first issue of a new comic book serial created by the team of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee hit the newsstandsand changed the superhero genre forever. The Fantastic FourReed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), Sue Storm (the Invisible Girl), Johnny Storm (the Human Torch) and Ben Grimm (the Thing)were born, and soon after, so was Marvel Comics as we know it today. This groundbreaking super team also had a profound effect on an 11-year-old Walter Mosley, stoking his young imagination with the intoxicating power of Kirby and Lee's visual storytelling. "I learned that entertainment, education, and art could all coexist in one form," writes Mosley in his introduction. Mosley's notion was to enlarge every one of Kirby's panels in FF#1, giving each panel an entire page and transforming a 32-page pulp comic into a 224-page hardcover art book. The result offers something like Roy Lichtenstein's early comic panel paintingsone's attention is focused on the brilliant composition and detail of Kirby's now-enlarged panels, even while Lee's narrative remains intact. This lavish book is both an impressive tribute to Kirby and Lee and a labor of love by Mosley, better known as a novelist than as a comics nerd. More important, the book is a thoughtful visual deconstruction of Kirby's dynamic visual syntax. Comics expert Mark Evanier contributes an essay on the early days of Marvel. Beautiful and contemplative, this book will be indispensable to fans of the modern superhero comic book. 'Nuff said! (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Ushering in momentous change in comic-book illustration and ingenuity, Jack Kirby's immense artistic contribution to Fantastic Four #1 revolutionized visual storytelling and brought the art of reality to the extraordinary lives of super-heroes. The ripple effects of that single issue continue to influence comic-book art to this day. As a tribute to Kirby's rendering of Marvel's First Family and their first adventure, Maximum Fantastic Four re-presents Fantastic Four #1 as you've never seen it before - highlighted by a super-size, digitally remastered, panel-by-panel exploration of the entire issue that captures every single detail and nuance of Kirby's groundbreaking artwork. The book also contains a substantial introduction and afterword by bestselling author and comic-book enthusiast Walter Mosley; art commentary by Kirby expert Mark Evanier; the stunning design of Paul Sahre; and a scale-sized, high-resolution reproduction of FF #1.This immaculately packaged coffee-table masterpiece is must-have for any Jack Kirby enthusiast, Fantastic Four fanatic, or sequential art fan!
• Hardcover: 224 pages
• Publisher: Marvel Comics; Maximum Ed edition (November 16, 2005)
• Language: English
This impassioned essay urges black Americans to take the lead in shaping America's response to the September 11 attacks. Mosley, author of the Easy Rawlins mystery series, puts forth a radical critique of U.S. foreign policy, recalling U.S. interventions in Indochina, Central America and the Middle East to assert that America often acts as a "pillager-nation" concerned more with corporate profits and cheap oil than with democracy and human rights; Arab antipathy towards the U.S. is thus more a response to U.S. economic imperialism than to religious or cultural antagonisms. Drawing on memories of his father's struggle against racism, he argues that blacks' experience of racial injustice in the United States obligates them to sympathize with oppressed peoples elsewhere and to understand (although Mosley does not condone) the murderous rage directed at America by many in the Muslim world. He exhorts blacks to take the lead in resisting the current militaristic response to terrorism and to demand that America harmonize its foreign policy with its humanitarian ideals and with the interests of the downtrodden "from Africa to Afghanistan." Interweaving the personal and the polemical, Mosley aims to shock readers out of their moral complacency; "It is up to me," he writes, "to make sure that my dark-skinned brothers and sisters around the world...are not enslaved, vilified, and raped by my desire to eat cornflakes or take a drive." Although his exclusive focus on economic motives somewhat oversimplifies U.S. foreign policy, he raises a compelling and eloquent challenge to America's role in the world.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Mosley, noted for his Easy Rawling mysteries set in black Los Angeles from the 1940s to the 1960s, draws from the roots of his folk experience to challenge black Americans to do their part for world peace. He notes the lack of black engagement or dialogue since 9/11 and asserts that such is a loss for all Americans, if not the world. Mosley draws on the folk wisdom and struggle of his father and grandfather's generations, who came to know a sense of Americanness and freedom denied to previous generations. Mosely argues that it is, in fact, the profound awareness of this nation's flaws that sustains an African American consciousness and provides a more complete perspective that is missing in the American narrative. The black experience of the terror of lynching, Jim Crow, and slavery are experiences to which most of white America is blind. Yet African Americans have lived with a sense of hope and faith in American ideals. Mosley believes that African Americans' sharing this experience benefits the nation and the prospects for world peace. Vernon Ford
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
From Publishers Weekly
After four increasingly well-received crime novels starring Los Angeles PI Easy Rawlins, Mosley has moved strongly ahead to a more searching and deeply felt style and subject. He writes here of Atwater "Soupspoon" Wise, a battered, failing relic of a man who once played backup to legendary Delta jazz guitarist Robert "RL" Johnson and who is now barely surviving on New York's Lower East Side. When we meet him, Soupspoon, who has cancer, is being evicted from his tiny apartment. Enter Kiki Waters, a hard-drinking, profane redhead who fled a life of horror and incest in Arkansas and now ekes out an uneasy living at a Wall Street insurance firm. With her tough street smarts, she stops the eviction cold, uses her office know-how to fake lavish health insurance for Soupspoon and moves him in with her. They cling together, these two outcasts from hard times, Soupspoon with a gentleness born of deep resignation, Kiki with a protective desperation fueled by booze and rage. Gradually, Soupspoon's life begins to mend: someone he knew as a kid in the South offers him a gig at his after-hours drinking place; a pretty young girl is drawn to his sweetness. But for Kiki, the only way out is through violence and flight. Mosley has always been a vivid writer, but here his work achieves a constant level of dark poetry: he flawlessly integrates Soupspoon's and Kiki's past harsh lives and memories with the keenly observed contemporary New York slum scene as the bittersweet blues constantly sound somber chords beneath. There is no false sentimental note anywhere in the book, just a deeply moving creation of two extraordinary people who achieve a powerful humanity where it would seem almost impossible it should exist. Author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Atwater "Soupspoon" Wise, an aging bluesman in New York City, is evicted from his apartment. Kiki Waters, a young white woman, takes him in, nursing him back to health and forging the necessary health insurance information to get him treated for cancer. The two form a strange friendship; both are from the South, and both have left behind pasts that demand to be dealt with. Soupspoon knew the legendary Robert "RL" Johnson in his youth and is haunted by the desire to learn the secret of Johnson's music; Kiki was abused by her father and ran away in her early teens. Mosley's swirl of characters, locales, and memories is intoxicating, and the plot moves forward relentlessly, taut as the mystery novels (e.g., Black Betty, LJ 5/1/94) for which he is renowned. Highly recommended.
-?David Dodd, Univ. of Colorado at Colorado Springs
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Walter Mosley is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-three critically acclaimed books and his work has been translated into twenty-one languages. His popular mysteries featuring Easy Rawlins began with Devil in a Blue Dress in 1990. His most recent novels are The Wave and Fortunate Son.
Not bad for a guy who gets up every morning at --- and writes naked until ---
- "The Watts Lion" (1993, The New Mystery; Easy Rawlins)
- "Crimson Shadow" (Whitney Museum; 1997; Socrates Fortlow)
- "Midnight Meeting" (Black Renaissance Noir; Socrates Fortlow)
- "The Thief" (Esquire; 1997, Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned; Socrates Fortlow)
- "Double Standard" (GQ; 1997, Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned; Socrates Fortlow)
- "Equal Opportunity" (Buzz; 1997, Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned; Socrates Fortlow)
- "Marvane Street" (Story; 1997, Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned; Socrates Fortlow)
- "Man Gone" (Emerge; 1997, Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned; Socrates Fortlow)
- "The Wanderer" (1997, Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned; Socrates Fortlow)
- "Lessons" (1997, Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned; Socrates Fortlow)
- "Letter to Theresa" (Los Angeles Times; 1997, Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned; Socrates Fortlow)
- "History" (1997, Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned; Socrates Fortlow)
- "Firebug" (Mary Higgins Clark Mystery Magazine; 1997, Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned; Socrates Fortlow)
- "Black Dog" (1997, Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned; 1998, Best American Mysteries; Socrates Fortlow)
- "Last Rites" (1997, Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned; Socrates Fortlow)
- "Blue Lightning" (December 1998, GQ; also 1999, Walkin' the Dog; Socrates Fortlow)
- "Promise" (1999, Walkin' the Dog; Socrates Fortlow)
- "Shift, Shift, Shift" (1999, Walkin' the Dog; Socrates Fortlow)
- "What Would you Do?" (1999, Walkin' the Dog; Socrates Fortlow)
- "A Day in the Park" (1999, Walkin' the Dog; Socrates Fortlow)
- "The Mugger" (1999, Walkin' the Dog; Socrates Fortlow)
- "That Smell" (1999, Walkin' the Dog; Socrates Fortlow)
- "Walkin' the Dog" (1999, Walkin' the Dog; Socrates Fortlow)
- "Mookie Kid" (1999, Walkin' the Dog; Socrates Fortlow)
- "Moving On" (1999, Walkin' the Dog; Socrates Fortlow)
- "Rascals in the Cane" (1999, Walkin' the Dog; Socrates Fortlow)
- "Rogue" (1999, Walkin' the Dog; Socrates Fortlow)
- "The Black Woman in the Chinese Hat," (2000, GQ)
- "Smoke" (2002; also 2003, Six Easy Pieces; Easy Rawlins)
- "Crimson Stain" (2002; also 2003, Six Easy Pieces; Easy Rawlins)
- "Silver Lining" (2002; also 2003, Six Easy Pieces; Easy Rawlins)
- "Lavender" (2002; also 2003, Six Easy Pieces; Easy Rawlins)
- "Gator Green" (2002; also 2003, Six Easy Pieces; Easy Rawlins)
- "Gray-Eyed Death" (2002; also 2003, Six Easy Pieces; Easy Rawlins)
- "Amber Gate" (2003, Six Easy Pieces; Easy Rawlins)
- "Karma" (2005, Dangerous Women; Leonid McGill)
- "Visiting Privileges" (2009)
- "On the Head of a Pin" (May 2012; Crosstown to Oblivion #1)...Kindle it!
- "The Gift of Fire" (May 2012; Crosstown to Oblivion #1)...Kindle it!
- "Disciple" (October 2012; Crosstown to Oblivion #2)...Kindle it!
- "Merge" (November 2012; Crosstown to Oblivion #2)...Kindle it!
- "Parishioner" (December 2012, ebook)..Kindle it!
- "Stepping Stone" (April 2013; Crosstown to Oblivion #3)...Kindle it!
- "Love Machine" (April 2013; Crosstown to Oblivion #3)...Kindle it!
- ..Kindle it!
Mosley organized and participated in this symposium, sub-titled "African American Solutions to African American Problems," held in 2000 under the auspices of New York University's African Ameircan Studies Program. The book contains eessays from the participants, which included Spike Lee, Melvin Van Peebles, George Curry, Stanley Crouch, Angela Davis and other "black intellectuals, artists, political activists, and economists."
- Richard Pryor...And It's Deep Too!....Buy this CD set
(2000, Warner Archives / Rhino Entertainment)
Mosley wrote the liner notes for this awe-inspiring collection, which rounds up all the Warner Bros. recording of the legendary comic from 1968 to 1992, and won a much-deserved Grammy for his efforts.
Mosley pounds on one key note again and again in this slim but potent primer for beginning writers: a writer must write every day at a prescribed time to be a writer. No excuses, he says. "Let the lawn get shaggy and the paint peel from the walls."
EDITED BY WALTER MOSLEY
- The Best American Short Stories (2003; co-edited with Katrina Kenison)....Buy this book
- BLACK BETTY
(2000, 89.9 FM and KCRW.com; Easy Rawlins)
Nine one-hour episodes
Based on the novel by Walter Mosley
Directed by Ted Lange
Starring Charlie Robinson as EASY RAWLINS
and Lonnie Smith as Mouse
The author's official site.
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks, George.
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