2.15.2009

THE MAN IN MY BASEMENT by Walter Mosley

Links for the East Side Readers' February discussion.

Most reviews did not shed light on this complex novel.... the NPR interview with Mosley was the most helpful for me.


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In the summer of 2004, Mosley took some time out to answer some questions.
What was the book that most influenced your life or your career as a writer -- and why?
The Stranger by Albert Camus probably had the greatest impact on me. I suppose that's because it was a novel about ideas in a very concrete and sensual world. This to me is the most difficult stretch for a writer -- to talk about the mind and spirit while using the most pedestrian props. Also the hero is not an attractive personality. He's just a guy, a little removed, who comes to heroism without anyone really knowing it. This makes him more like an average Joe rather than someone beyond our reach or range.
What are your favorite books, and what makes them special to you?
  • The Stranger by Albert Camus -- As stated above.
  • Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny -- The magical humanity that is possible in our imagination.
  • The Simple Stories by Langston Hughes -- The deep love and understanding of the working class African American character.
  • The Country Girls trilogy by Edna O'Brien -- Because she is one of the best writers in the English language.
  • The Four Quartets by T. S. Eliot -- These poems -- though I still don't completely understand them -- move me to ecstasy.
  • Kindred by Octavia Butler -- The mud of my existence finds its beginning in Butler's grounded prose.
  • An Alien Heat by Michael Moorcock -- The first book I read that brought me out of myself and into the furthest reaches of possibility (at least at that time).
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston -- It opened the door of linguistic possibility that finally allowed me to become a writer.
  • The Galton Case by Ross Macdonald -- This, and many others of the author's work, is the essence of noir.
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For March 19th, All the Little Live Things, on the centennial of Wallace Stegner's birth.
For April 16th, Kasuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go.
Classics Klatch :: For April 2nd :: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.
For May 21, William Gibson's Pattern Recognition. He's in the sci-fi section, but don't let that deter you. I've been reading him since his 1st and he's only gotten WAY better!
For June 18th, The Stranger by Albert Camus, Mosley's favorite book. I've linked to a newer translation -- you may still have yours on the shelf! Or maybe even L'étranger !

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