By: Aryanne Ferguson
Walter Mosley(1952- ) was born in LA to a Jewish mother and a Black father. Mosley writes in a few different genres – historical fiction, crime, mystery, young adult, literary criticism, graphic novels, plays, even erotica. Mosley is known most for his crime fiction, but unfortunately I haven’t read any of it. The only work of his which I have read is a novel called “The Right Mistake” (2008). Here’s what I had to say after I finished it back in 2011:
This 3rd person novel follows a 60-something ex-convict in LA who starts a discussion group among the community members of a ghetto. Along the way he falls in love with a much younger woman as he struggles with the instincts he developed in prison. This book was hard for me to read at some points because of all the different mentalities and points of view. It increased my awareness of the problems our society has regarding racial inequality, especially when that society created ghettos and forces people to live in them, with bleak chances of moving out, both physically and mentally. In their discussion group, Mosley’s characters debate street justice, racial authenticity, and whether mutual understanding can ever be achieved in their community. The story is action-based, written simply, sparing attention to detail. The heart of the story lies in the characters and relationships.
And here’s a quote from the novel itself:
“Socrates sat in the right front aisle seat of a scarlet and gold Crenshaw bus, almost next to the driver. Someone in the seat directly behind had just taken a swig of gin. The woman sitting next to him had the smell of cigarettes coming off of her clothes.
And there were other odors.
Faint vapors of urine wafted from an elderly woman dressed in rags that seemed almost as old as she. She was seated a few rows back, across the aisle from a man with a Rastafarian hairdo who was listening to earphones with the volume set so high that everyone in the front third of the bus could sing along to the repetitive rants of the hip-hop selections he played.”
Mosley is so prolific that you have to check him out!