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The Man in My Basement: A Novelby Walter Mosley
"[I]f this is crime fiction, it's of a rarefied variety, hewing closer to Paul Auster than to Raymond Chandler....The Man in My Basement is an eerie book, the more so for making no obvious attempt to creep out its readers. It hovers between the prosaic world of the genre writer and the spooked parables of Kafka....The novel turns out to be a mystery after all, but one that Mosley is far too good a writer to solve for us." Laura Miller, Salon.com (read the entire Salon.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
"I can make it worth your while."
The man at Charles Blakey's door has a proposition almost too strange for words. He wants to spend the summer in Charles's basement, and Charles cannot even begin to guess why.
The beautiful house has been in the Blakey family for generations, but Charles has just lost his job and is behind on his mortgage payments. The money would be welcome.
But Charles Blakey is black and Anniston Bennet is white, and it is clear that the stranger wants more than a basement view. There is something deeper and darker about his request, and Charles does not need any more trouble. But financial necessity leaves him no choice.
Once Anniston Bennet is installed in his basement, Charles is cast into a role he never dreamed of. Anniston has some very particular requests for his landlord, and try as he might, Charles cannot avoid being lured into Bennet's strange world. At first he resists, but soon he is tempted — tempted by the opportunity to understand the secret ways of white folks. Tempted to understand a set of codes that have always eluded him. Charles's summer with a man in his basement turns into an exploration of inconceivable worlds of power and manipulation, and unimagined realms of humanity.
Walter Mosley pierces long-hidden veins of justice and morality with startling insight into the deepest mysteries of human nature. Surprisingly original and compelling, The Man in My Basement is a literary feat from "one of the country's best writers" (Denver Post).
"[A] boldly understated fable....Even given the resulting lack of suspense and a story that falls off sharply by the end, this slender parable is Mosley's most provocative and impassioned novel yet." Kirkus Reviews
"Mosley fans expecting a mystery might be disappointed, but this thought-provoking novel will satisfy those with literary tastes. Highly recommended." Library Journal
"This is fine, provocative writing from the prolific Mosley, whose gifts extend well beyond his excellent mysteries." Keir Graff, Booklist
"The novel, written in adorned prose that allows the ideas to breathe, will hold readers rapt....[Mosley] again demonstrates his superior ability to tackle virtually any prose form, and he is to be applauded for creating a rarity, an engaging novel of ideas." Publishers Weekly
"[A] complex and compelling narrative of ideas, examining important social and political tensions in contemporary America, and inviting its readers to learn and to act." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"One of our best storytellers, Mosley captures the anxieties, guilt and fear of two men — one physically imprisoned, one spiritually imprisoned — in a riveting tale of freedom and hope in a world of evil and suffering." Charlotte Observer
"[G]ripping....[T]hought-provoking, beautifully written and filled with believable and fetching characters." Dallas-Ft. Worth Star Telegram
"...Mosley keeps the action flowing..." USA Today
Hailed as a masterpiece — the finest work yet by an American novelist of the first rank — The Man in my Basement tells the story of a young black man who can't find a job, drinks too much, and, worst of all, stands to lose the beautiful home that's belonged to his family for generations. All that changes, however, when a stranger offers $50,000 to rent out the young man's basement, and soon the two men are drawn together into circumstances so bizarre as to be almost beyond imagination.
Hailed as a masterpiece-the finest work yet by an American novelist of the first rank-The Man in My Basement tells the story of Charles Blakey, a young black man who can't find a job, drinks too much, and, worst of all, stands to lose the beautiful home that has belonged to his family for generations. But Charles's fortunes take an odd turn when a stranger offers nearly $50,000 to rent out Charles's basement-and soon, as the boarder transforms the basement into a prison cell, Charles finds himself drawn into circumstances almost unimaginably bizarre and profoundly unsettling.
About the Author
Walter Mosley is the author of the bestselling Easy Rawlins series of mysteries, the novel R.L.'s Dream, and the story collection Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, for which he received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. He was born in Los Angeles and has been at various times in his life a potter, a computer programmer, and a poet. His books have been translated into twenty languages. He lives in New York.
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