I've always tried to shy away from Walter Mosley. I'm not sure why. I've always thought I wouldn't read anything worthwhile and different from the rest of the pack. This time I've decided to give it a go. I'm glad I did.
Mosley fully captures the rhythms of people's lifes in South Central LA, resulting in a haunting look at a life bounded by lust, violence, fear, and a ruthlessly unsentimental moral vision.
I was also impressed with Mosley's efforts to bring philosophy back. The book is also full of moral dilemmas.
In spite of the bleak vision Socrates' character ultimately offers, he represents a vital moral wisdom. His role far surpasses the expectations for an ex-convict or anyone with his childhood background.
After finishing the book, I got the feeling John Ford could have directed it, changing the western landscape for the urban jungle, but using instead a gun-slinging mythology of street justice.
While this is a collection of short stories, it's not a straightforward anthology. Each of these stories builds on the events of the previous story, and certainly reads as well as any constructed novel. Socrates (aka Socco) is a fascinating character, and it's revealing to see the directions that his wounded pride takes him.
This was a very unpredictable and satisfying read, with moments where it got really sad and touching.
NB: "Walkin' the Dog", the follow-up, is already on my TBR list... When my reading stack whittles down a bit, I'll read it.