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Whodunit: mini reviews of mysteries

Rose Gold, By Walter Mosley
Doubleday, 309 pages, $30

Rose GoldEasy Rawlins, the black Los Angeles PI, is an inventive investigator and usually finds himself in intricate cases. But sometimes, reading the Rawlins books—this is the 13th—the plots seem excuses for Mosely to examine the psychological and linguistic complications that a black man with smarts experiences in interactions with the white world. The new book, set in 1974, offers such encounters in steady doses. Easy’s job is to run down a billionaire’s daughter who has either been kidnapped by a gang of radicals or, in the Patty Hearst model, has willingly joined them. On the way to the solution, the smooth, nervy Rawlins talks himself past countless varieties of nastiness.

(via thestar.com)

Inside a Silver Box

Inside a Silver Boxreviews-star-19bIn this terrific genre-defying work, Mosley (Rose Gold) uses an eons-old battle for control of existence as a backdrop for a character-driven novel of philosophy and social commentary. Ages ago, the Laz created the Silver Box to inflict torture on other life forms, but the Silver Box rebelled and imprisoned the Laz within itself. In the present day, black thug Ronnie Bottoms kills white Columbia student Lorraine Fell in Central Park, above the Box’s resting place. Lorraine’s spirit draws Ronnie back to her body and he resurrects her using the artifact’s power, but a sliver of the Laz escapes, so the Silver Box calls upon the unlikely duo to “try to save the Earth” and sends them on a journey to gain superpowers. Mosley really pulls out all the stops, managing with improbable success to combine a struggle for the fate of all existence with a story about two New Yorkers from very different backgrounds coming to understand each other and address the mistakes they’ve made in their own lives. Wild concepts and deep thoughts sit comfortably alongside the musings of ordinary people undergoing radical changes in this top-notch tale. Agent: Gloria Loomis, Watkins/Loomis Agency. (Jan.)

Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review

Mosley’s ‘Lift’ expands beyond walls

Mosley’s ‘Lift’ expands beyond walls

Ironically, the setting of Walter Mosley’s tragedy, “Lift,” is within the confines of an elevator. The two main characters, young Black professionals, discuss broader issues of race, class and relationships. Under the skilled direction of Marshall Jones III, Maameya Boafo and Biko Eisen-Martin breathe an attractive chemistry and depth into their roles as strangers trapped indefinitely in an elevator in their corporate office building. Read the rest of this entry »

In My Library

The Sixth Annual Norman Mailer Center And Writers Colony Benefit Gala Honoring Don DeLillo, Billy Collins, And Katrina vanden Heuvel - InsideWalter Mosley is tired of hearing how his City College of New York writing teacher, Irish novelist Edna O’Brien, told him to mine his background: “You’re black, Jewish, with a poor upbringing,” she told him. “There are riches therein.” But O’Brien gave him much more than that: “No one needs to tell me I’m black and Jewish,” he says. “Edna said I should write a novel, and I went out and wrote one.” He’s since written about three dozen of them, including a bestselling mystery series featuring a hardboiled detective named Easy Rawlins (“Devil in a Blue Dress”). Now Mosley’s making his NYC theatrical debut with his play, “Lift,” at off-Broadway’s 59E59 theaters, about two co-workers’ close encounter in an elevator. Here’s what’s in his library.

Walter Mosley-Inspired CCNY Program Still Going Strong

Walter MosleyOn his return to The City College of New York Friday, November 21, to receive the Langston Hughes Medal, authorWalter Mosley, ’91MA, will reunite with one of his enduring contributions to his alma mater: CCNY’s Publishing Certificate Program (PCP).

Mr. Mosley inspired the creation of the program in 1997 to help address the lack of diversity in the book publishing industry. Headed by award-winning author David Unger, it offers courses and seminars to both undergraduates and non-matriculated students to prepare them for careers in publishing.

Nearly 300 students have graduated from the program, close to 40 percent of whom have worked in the publishing industry.

Mr. Mosley is the best-selling author of more than 40 acclaimed books, which have been translated into 21 languages. He will receive the 2014 Langston Hughes Medal at City College’s Langston Hughes Festival at 6:30 p.m. in the Marian Anderson Theatre in Aaron Davis Hall on the CCNY campus.

The Medal is awarded to highly distinguished writers from throughout the African American diaspora for their impressive works of poetry, fiction, drama, autobiography and critical essays that help to celebrate the memory and tradition of Langston Hughes.

Read the complete article on the CCNY site.

Rose Gold

Rose GoldRose Gold is two colors, one woman, and a big headache.

In this new mystery set in the Patty Hearst era of radical black nationalism and political abductions, a black ex-boxer self-named Uhuru Nolica, the leader of a revolutionary cell called Scorched Earth, has kidnapped Rosemary Goldsmith, the daughter of a weapons manufacturer, from her dorm at UC Santa Barbara. If they don’t receive the money, weapons, and apology they demand, “Rose Gold” will die—horribly and publicly. So the FBI, the State Department, and the LAPD turn to Easy Rawlins, the one man who can cross the necessary borders to resolve this dangerous standoff. With twelve previous adventures since 1990, Easy Rawlins is one of the small handful of private eyes in contemporary crime fiction who can be called immortal. Rose Gold continues his ongoing and unique achievement in combining the mystery/PI genre form with a rich social history of postwar Los Angeles—and not just the black parts of that sprawling city.

Coming from Knopf Doubleday on September 23, 2014

There is no “white” race

CBS News asked noted figures in the arts, business and politics about their experience in today’s civil rights movement, or about figures who inspired them in their activism.

Walter Mosley, author (the Easy Rawlins mysteries); winner, PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Walter Mosley /  Marcia Wilson

Walter Mosley / Marcia Wilson

What needs to happen in the next 50 years for equality to be fully realized in the U.S.?

Equality (which defines freedom in any society) is a complex issue that cannot be achieved by any one action. People who suffer inequality are in many categories, because of their sexual preference, age, nationality, religion, race, gender, politics, wealth (or lack thereof), infirmity, and/or simply for being different.

 
 

This being said, I will try to propose a suggestion for one solution that will definitely impact racial inequality and might possibly have ameliorating influence on the other prejudices.

The white race is a fiction created by aggressive colonization and slavery. In the colonies destined to become the United States, the European colonists found themselves pitted against the indigenous (red) people while enslaving Africans (blacks). In between these two colors, the white race was born, creating an antithetical identity that distinguished the supposed rightful owners from the slaves and (so-called) primitives. White was not a racial identifier in ancient Europe. In Britain alone, there was a plethora of races: Celts, Anglo-Saxons, Norse, Scots, Druids, and subgroups such as the Picts. There were as many races as there were languages in old Europe, but when colonization began, they founded an illusory identity where Christian men of European descent were called white regardless of their coloring, features or culture. Florid-faced, pale-skinned, olive-hued, and pink people of every size and build were called white people, and they still cling to that identity today.

If the members of the so-called white race dropped that fallacious appellation, racism in America (the United States) would be over. There is no race, just a whole bunch of people who look more or less alike.

So the next time someone asks you if you believe that we live in a post-racial world, say to them, “That depends, do you believe that you are white?”

Read the article on CBSNews.com.

LIFT Replaces GHOST STORIES in 59E59 Theaters’ 5A Season

59E59

59E59 Theaters announces that the Crossroads Theater Company production of acclaimed novelist Walter Mosley’s LIFT will replace GHOST STORIES as part of 59E59’s inaugural 5A Season for an October premiere.

“GHOST STORIES needed a very specific stage configuration to pull off the special effects, and unfortunately they just could not make it work in Theater A,” explained 59E59 Theaters’ Founder and Artistic Director Elysabeth Kleinhans. “However, this gives us the opportunity to present a spectacular new play by a leading American novelist. It’s a very exciting production, and we are honored to bring it to New York.” Read the rest of this entry »

Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore

Debbie Doesnt Do It AnymoreIn this scorching, mournful, often explicit, and never less than moving literary novel by the famed creator of the Easy Rawlins series, Debbie Dare, a black porn queen, has to come to terms with her sordid life in the adult entertainment industry after her tomcatting husband dies in a hot tub. Electrocuted. With another woman in there with him. Debbie decides she just isn’t going to “do it anymore.” But executing her exit strategy from the porn world is a wrenching and far from simple process.

Millions of men (and no doubt many women) have watched famed black porn queen Debbie Dare—she of the blond wig and blue contacts-“do it” on television and computer screens every which way with every combination of partners the mind of man can imagine. But one day an unexpected and thunderous on-set orgasm catches Debbie unawares, and when she returns to the mansion she shares with her husband, insatiable former porn star and “film producer” Theon Pinkney, she discovers that he’s died in a case of hot tub electrocution, “auditioning” an aspiring “starlet.” Burdened with massive debts that her husband incurred, and which various L.A. heavies want to collect on, Debbie must reckon with a life spent in the peculiar subculture of the pornography industry and her estrangement from her family and the child she had to give up. She’s done with porn, but her options for what might come next include the possibility of suicide. Debbie . . . is a portrait of a ransacked but resilient soul in search of salvation and a cure for grief.

OxCrimes: 27 Killer Stories

OxCrimes

Following the success of OxTales and OxTravels, this collection of crime writing is the latest Oxfam fundraiser, introduced by Britain’s greatest crime writer, Ian Rankin, and featuring a compelling cast of suspects.

For 2014, Oxfam and Profile have turned to crime in order to raise a further £200,000 for Oxfam’s work.

OxCrimes is introduced by Ian Rankin and has been curated by Peter Florence, director of Hay Festival, where it will be launched in May. The stellar cast of contributors will include Walter Mosley, Mark Billingham, Alexander McCall Smith, Anthony Horowitz, Val McDermid, Peter James, Adrian McKinty, Denise Mina, Louise Welsh and a host of other compelling suspects.

Pre-Order OxCrimes:

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