- STAFF PICKS
- GIFTS + GIFT CARDS
- SELL BOOKS
- FIND A STORE
This item may be
Check for Availability
47by Walter Mosley
Synopses & Reviews
Walter Mosley is one of the best known writers in America. In his first book for young adults, Mosley deftly weaves historical and speculative fiction into a powerful narrative about the nature of freedom. 47 is a young slave boy living under the watchful eye of a brutal slave master. His life seems doomed until he meets a mysterious run-away slave, Tall John. Then 47 finds himself swept up in a struggle for his own liberation.
"This thought-provoking, genre-bending account of one slave's emancipation, Mosley's (Fear Itself) first book for young adults, makes for harrowing reading. The narrator, called simply by his number, 47, recalls his life as an enslaved teen on a Georgia plantation in 1832, occasionally interjecting the wisdom he has gleaned in the intervening years. At the 'most likely' age of 14 ('Slaves... didn't have ages like the white people did,' he explains), 47 is sent to the fields to pick cotton. His life in the slave quarters begins with having his number literally branded on his shoulder in a brutal scene, which palpably captures the cruelty of the period. Mosley's novel is more than a work of historical fiction, however — 47 starts off by explaining that these events 'happened over a hundred and seventy years ago,' and hints that something supernatural is coming. It arrives in the person of 'Tall John from beyond Africa,' who masquerades as a runaway from a neighboring farm, but who is, in fact, an extraterrestrial searching the galaxy for 47. Those familiar with African-American folklore will recognize him as a variant of High John the Conqueror, a spirit who ultimately sets the slaves free. 'Neither master nor nigger be,' Tall John repeatedly tells 47, who must unlearn a lifetime of subservience in order to grasp the nature of freedom and its relationship to responsibility. Equal parts history and tall tale, this engaging story related by an endearing narrator is so full of dramatic tension that few readers will realize they're learning something, too. Ages 12-up. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Time travel, shape-shifting, and intergalactic conflict add unusual, provocative elements to this story....Older readers will find the blend of realism, escapism, and science fiction intriguing." School Library Journal
"The magical realism allows for some plot contrivance, but Mosley brings the harsh facts and anguish very close, and the first-person narrative shows and tells how 'slavery is the most unbelievable part of this whole story.'" Booklist
47 is the first young adult novel to be written by bestselling author Walter Mosley. A master storyteller, Mosley deftly mixes speculative and historical fiction in this daring novel. Set in a plantation, 47 (a young slave boy) is growing up under the watchful eye of a brutal slave master. His life seems doomed, until he meets the mysterious Tall John who not only introduces him to an unimaginable magical science but teaches 47 the meaning of freedom.
Number 47, a fourteen-year-old slave boy growing up underthe watchful eye of a brutal master in 1832, meets the mysterious TallJohn, who introduces him to a magical science and also teaches him themeaning of freedom.
In his first book for young adults, the bestselling author weaves a powerful narrative about the nature of freedom. The life of a young slave named 47 seems doomed until he meets a mysterious runaway slave and finds himself swept up in a struggle for his own liberation. Young Adult.
About the Author
Walter Mosley is the bestselling author of Little Scarlet, Fear Itself, and Bad Boy Brawly Brown; the acclaimed Easy Rawlins series of mysteries; and other works of fiction and nonfiction. This is his first book for young adults.
What Our Readers Are Saying