Thursday, October 11, 2018, 7:00 p.m., City Lights Booksellers, 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco
reading from his new novel
published by Atlantic Monthly Press
Walter Mosely requires no introduction. His award-winning, critically-adored body of work has sold millions of copies the world over. Though he is perhaps best known for his mysteries featuring the character Easy Rawlins, over the course of his long and prolific career, he has also written a handful of penetrating literary novels that wrestle with questions political and philosophical. His latest book is such a novel: the result of nearly 20 years of incubation, it is a dazzling and convention-defying novel of ideas about the sexual and intellectual coming-of-age of an unusual man who goes by the name Woman.
JOHN WOMAN recounts the transformation of an unassuming boy named Cornelius Jones into John Woman, an unconventional history professor—while the legacy of a hideous crime lurks in the shadows.
At twelve years old, Cornelius, the son of an Italian-American woman and an older black man from Mississippi named Herman, secretly takes over his father's job at a silent film theater in New York's East Village. Five years later, as Herman lives out his last days, he shares his wisdom with his son, explaining that the person who controls the narrative of history controls their own fate. After his father dies and his mother disappears, Cornelius sets about reinventing himself—as Professor John Woman, a man who will spread Herman’s teachings into the classrooms of his unorthodox southwestern university and beyond. But there are other individuals who are attempting to influence the narrative of John Woman, and who might know something about the facts of his hidden past.
Engaging with some of the most provocative ideas of recent intellectual history, JOHN WOMAN is a compulsively readable, deliciously unexpected novel about the way we tell stories, and whether the stories we tell have the power to change the world. It is essential reading in an age defined by fake news and alternative facts.
Walter Mosley is the author of more than fifty critically-acclaimed books, including the major bestselling mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins. His work has been translated into twenty-five languages and includes literary fiction, science fiction, political monographs, and a young adult novel. In 2013, he was inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame, and he is the winner of numerous awards, including an O. Henry Award, the Mystery Writers of America’s Grand Master Award, a Grammy, and PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He lives in New York City.
Praise for Walter Mosley
"A writer whose work transcends category and qualifies as serious literature."—Time
"Mosley is one of the most humane, insightful, powerful prose stylists working today in any genre. He’s also one of the most radical…. Immerse yourself in the work of one of our national treasures."
—The Austin Chronicle
“When reviewing a book by Walter Mosley, it’s hard not to simply quote all the great lines. There are so many of them. You want to share the pleasures of Mosley’s jazz-inflected dialogue and the moody, descriptive passages reminiscent of Raymond Chandler at his best.”
—Washington Post, on Down the River Unto the Sea
“A daring, beautifully wrought story that incorporates elements of allegory, meditative reflection and the lilt of lyric tragedy. ”—Los Angeles Times, on The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey
“With Mosley, there’s always the surprise factor—a cutting image or a bracing line of dialogue.”
—New York Times Book Review, on And Sometimes I Wonder About You
“Mosley’s invigorating, staccato prose and understanding of racial, moral
and social subtleties are in full force.”—Seattle Times, on Known to Evil
“[Mosley has] revitalized two genres, the hard-boiled novel and the American behaviorist novel.”
“Mosley is the Gogol of the African-American working class—the chronicler par excellence of the tragic and the absurd.”—Vibe
“[Mosley] has a special talent for touching upon these sticky questions of evil and responsibility without getting stuck in them.”—New Yorker