i am an avid reader of walter mosley. i especially like his easy rawlings books, how they and easy grow and change with the times. this book takes us back to their teens, sharing secrets, telling of places and people that i found very intresting. it also shares some of the things that have made them close and shows what has cemented their relationship. again, walter mosley kept my attention from the first page to the last. i am a woman and i have gotton several of my male friends to read mr mosleys books. even men that usually do not enjoy novels. i am always eagerly awaiting his next book. one day i hope to meet the man.
No mystery why Mosley is so good
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 16 years ago
I read some of Walter Mosley's "Easy Rawlins" mysteries a few years ago. I recently decided to begin reading them again, starting with the prequel story "Gone Fishin'". This was actually the first novel Mosley wrote about Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins and his psychotic friend Raymond "Mouse" Alexander. However, for whatever reasons, it never found a publisher. However, "Devil in a Blue Dress" the second novel, was published. I imagine that at least one reason "Devil" published is its more commercial status. It's a mystery, set in California in 1948. In other words, it's a straightforward book to categorize, and thus, far more marketable. "Gone Fishin'" is not a mystery, nor is it a real crime novel (although there is a fair amount of crime and mystery in the proceedings). It is instead, a wonderfully grim coming of age story about two friends, both black, living in Texas before WW II. Mouse is getting married, but has no money to finance a proper wedding. Easy, Mouse's closest friend, and our "hero", agrees to drive Mouse to his hometown of Pariah, TX, with a vague plan to get the necessary funds from Mouse's hated stepfather. Readers of other books in the "Easy Rawlins" series will know how that turns out. But, as is the case with prequels, it's not the ending that really matters, it's the story that leads to that ending. The most significant aspect of "Gone Fishin" is that it underlines the basic inconsequence of dividing fiction into genres and sub-genres. Mosley tackles many of the same issues here that he tackles in his mysteries. Easy is a man with feet of clay. He's mostly likeable, but like all really great protagonists, he has numerous off-putting flaws. I find myself alternating between rooting for him when he acts heroically and slapping myself in the head when he acts stupidly. But he frequently grapples with matters of good and evil, the frailty of human nature, the cruelty that inhabits the world side by side with the kindness. In other words, Mosley's work is very "literary" or "serious"-except that there's a dead body, and Easy has to find whodunit, so they are merely "mystery" or "crime fiction" and so dismissed far too readily. And it most certainly should not be that way. "Gone Fishin" is Mosley at his best. Easy's moral ambiguity begins in this novel. Easy is perpetually trying to do the right thing, but finds himself helpless to thwart Mouse's machinations as he pursues money he believes that his stepfather owes him. Easy also finds himself entangled in a peculiar relationship with a local "witch" Momma Jo, who lives in the swamp. Mosley introduces other bizarre characters into this town of Pariah, and further creates an unhealthy atmosphere where the worst case scenario is inevitable. While Easy offers some hope in the last pages for his future, readers who have read any of the other books will almost certainly feel how hollow that hope is. More than anything, we see how Easy grows into the cynical ma
A New Genre for Walter Mosley
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 20 years ago
Great detective story writers can rise to being solid novelists. Ross MacDonald was clearly in this category. With Gone Fishin', Walter Mosley has attained that distinction in a new way -- he has gone into a new fictional genre. Although this novel has the usual crime overlay, it is really a novel about coming of age in the South as a black person before the days of integration. With few books available on this subject, I suspect that Mosley may have set the standard for other authors to meet. For me, a lot of the charm of the Easy Rawlins stories is their historical setting in the more prejudiced days of the past. How does an intelligent, honorable black person deal with this? The stories are interesting for both what they say about society and for the great plots and character development.This book, a prequel to the others in the series, does the same, but in a different setting -- far a way from Southern California.I found it to be an excellent gothic novel, and encourage you to read it as such. If you open this book expecting another Easy Rawlins detective story, you may be disappointed. On the other hand, if you leave yourself open to what you find here, you will probably be rewarded. Moseley's fans need to live up to his talent, and follow him where his skills take him.If you have not read the Walter Mosley books before, I suggest you start with this one. You'll make more sense out of the rest of the series. You'll also be less likely to be disturbed by the shift in genre. Anyone who enjoys this book will find the detective novels to be an easy follow on.
A Great Summer Read!
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 22 years ago
If you're looking for a true summer adventure--and you happen to be a fan of Walter Mosley's Easy Rawlins series--don't miss this one. "Gone Fishin'" is a prequel to the other novels--it begins in Houston in the late 1930's where Easy and his murderous pal Mouse are two young black men looking for fortune in a white man's world. That leads them on trip into the dark recesses of the East Texas Piney Woods, where the city boys discover there's plenty of sex, black magic and killing out under the trees. Mosley wonderfully captures the dialect of that region from that era--to me, it had a familiar ring. To others, it may require a bit of concentration, but it's worth the effort. With "Gone Fishin'", Mosley has created a grownup "Huck Finn" style adventure that reads like a movie. If you're like me, after Denzel Washington's portrayal of Easy in "Devil In A Blue Dress", you see Denzel in your head whenever you're reading about Easy Rawlins. Imagine him as a youngster--not yet the cool sleuth he'll become later in LA--and you've got the character Mosley creates for "Gone Fishin'". The only bad thing I can say about this book is that I was finished with it before I wanted to be.
Can't ask for a more wonderful "prequel"!
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 23 years ago
Zora Neale Hurston would be so-oooo proud! In addition to being a master storyteller, Mosley captures history and colloquial language like no other. Having read all of the Easy Rawlins mysteries, "Gone Fishin'" fills in a few holes with respect to the constant bonds between Easy and Raymond "Mouse" Alexander. In addition to a deft and economic usage of words, this book is full of vibrant images of places and characters who are not characters but living, breathing people with full lungs, and also brings us closer to understanding the man that 19-year old Easy is moving into. You couldn't ask for a more wonderful "prequel"; my personal wish is to see at least one more Easy Rawlins book which recounts his experience in the military during WWII and discovering Paris, France. Cannot wait. De'Loi
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