Cover image for Walter Mosley : a critical companion
Walter Mosley : a critical companion
Wilson, Charles E., 1961-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, CT : Greenwood Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xi, 232 pages ; 25 cm.
The Life of Walter Mosley -- Literary Heritage -- Devil in a Blue Dress (1990) -- Black Betty (1994) -- RL's Dream (1995) -- A Little Yellow Dog (1996) -- Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned (1998) -- Blue Light (1998) -- Fearless Jones (2001) -- Bad Boy Brawly Brown (2002).
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Table of contents
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PS3563.O88456 Z88 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Readers of this Critical Companion will discover the richness of Mosley's writings, as well as his contributions to the African-American literary tradition, the genres of detective writing and science fiction, and American literature in general. Mosley's influences, inspirations, obstacles, and successes are presented in a richly drawn biographical chapter, which incorporates the author's most recent interviews.

Mosley's first detective novel, Devil in a Blue Dress (1990), established a new voice in detective fiction, offering an African American perspective that resonated to a broad spectrum of readers. From his Easy Rawlins mysteries to his science fiction, Mosley invites readers into unexpected worlds and challenges his audience to think beyond their assumptions about society. Perhaps because he manages to link the trials of his characters to the enigma of the human condition, his prolific, genre-spanning work has met with both popular and critical success.

This is the only book-length study of Mosley's fiction, covering eight of his key novels, including his most recent, Bad Boy Brawley Brown (2002). In addition to comprehensive plot synopsis, character portraits, and thematic discussions for each work, historical contexts are considered. Terms and concepts are clearly explained for the student and general reader. A select bibliography cites biographical sources, interviews, criticism, reviews, and related works of interest.

Author Notes

CHARLES E. WILSON JR. is University Professor and Chair, Department of English, Old Dominion University. He teaches courses in African American Literature, Southern Literature and American Literature. His previous publications include Gloria Naylor: A Critical Companion (Greenwood 2001) and articles on Ernest Gaines and Charles W. Chestnutt.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The only child of an African American father and a Jewish American mother, Mosley embodies the hybridism of his characters. Mosley has noted that the concerns of his fiction pertain to the black man's struggle for identity, redemption, and psychological and financial freedom. His fictional works (14 to date) reveal traces of parental influences. Characters who populate Mosley's works often have multiethnic backgrounds--e.g., Simone Eng, A Little Yellow Dog, is Italian Chinese. Wilson (Old Dominion Univ.) identifies as a leitmotiv in Mosley's works the contradiction inherent in American society, which divides itself along racial lines at the same time that it engages in acts of miscegenation. According to Wilson, for Moseley Los Angeles (the setting of most of his work) "is paradoxical, having both a beauty and a craziness and thus no distinct personality." Part of the "Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers" series, this fascinating biocritical study establishes Mosley's link not only to fiction writers such as Ralph Ellison, but to writers of detective fiction such as Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Ross Macdonald. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Academic and public libraries; all levels. T. L. Jackson St. Cloud State University

Table of Contents

Kathleen Gregory Klein
Series Forewordp. ix
1. The Life of Walter Mosleyp. 1
2. Literary Heritagep. 19
3. Devil in a Blue Dress (1990)p. 35
4. Black Betty (1994)p. 57
5. RL's Dream (1995)p. 79
6. A Little Yellow Dog (1996)p. 101
7. Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned (1998)p. 125
8. Blue Light (1998)p. 145
9. Fearless Jones (2001)p. 167
10. Bad Boy Brawly Brown (2002)p. 189
Bibliographyp. 207
Indexp. 221