Walter Mosley – The Long Fall
In spite of my sporadic fantasies about foreign climes, the only city I could live in is New York. Most other American municipalities are segregated by class and culture, education and personal choice. But in New York everybody is jumbled up together and bounced around until you have African princes walking side by side with Appalachian Daughters of the American Revolution, and aspiring starlets making room for hopeful housewives past their prime. Even with real estate costs climbing above the reach of almost everyone, you can still find all the elements of humanity riding the number 1 train down under the West Side of Manhattan.
There were at least a dozen readers in the car I rode on the trek toward Wall Street. They perused novels and textbooks, newspapers and hip-hop magazines. There were displaced housewives going to work because one income didn’t pay the rent anymore. Many of these watched their soaps on tiny screens plugged into earphones. That afternoon I saw books by Thomas Mann, Joy King, Edwidge Danticat, and Danielle Steel being read. One dusty fellow kept turning his head suspiciously, looking for enemies that might be sneaking up on him. A chubby white woman smiled at me and even pursed her lips. At one point a troupe of doo-wop singers composed of one Asian and three blacks made their way through our car, crooning “On Broadway” and “Up on the Roof.”
I can’t remember the first time I picked up a Walter Mosley book (probably Devil in a Blue Dress), but I was hooked early on his detective Easy Rollins and his different style of writing.
From an interview published December 1995, in Ebony, Muriel Whetstone writes that Mosley
… aims to write about the everdayness of Black men and women who are raising their children, worrying about the mortgage and loving and being loved.
“Langston Hughes did it. Zora Neale Hurston did it. Certainly Toni Morrison has, too,” he says. “I’ve tried to write about Black people as Black people. Not as Black people in relation to White people, not as Black people as victims of whatever, but Black people living their lives.”