47 by Walter Mosley

by Walter MosleyPublisher’s Summary

In his first book for young adults, best-selling author Walter 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.

Deeply compelling, 47 is a rewarding narrative that will introduce a new generation of listeners to one of the most important writers in America.

©2005 Walter Mosley

I’m a longtime fan of Walter Mosley.  He hooked me with the Easy Rawlins series of books in the nineties.  In fact, I was so captivated by that character that when Mr. Mosley decided to kill off Easy, I was so angry that I didn’t pick up another of his books for the next 10 years.  I know. That was kind of an extreme reaction but it just shows how intensely that character resonated with me.  I took his death personal.

At the time, I read an interview in which Mr. Mosley claimed that his decision to end the series was based, in part on his desire not to be restricted, and his belief that there was more to him that Easy Rawlins.

He was absolutely right.

Since then he’s introduced the world to Socrates Fortlow, Paris Minton, Fearless Jones, among many others.  And each of these characters are just as memorable and charismatic as Easy.  Mr. Mosley has even written a book of literary erotica, Killing Johnny Fry: A Sexistential Novel.  This book was so hot, I wanted to smoke a cigarette when I was done and I don’t even smoke.

I was impressed with Mr. Mosley before, but after reading 47, I am in total awe of this man’s talent.  There are many books that tell vivid stories about the cruelty of slavery, 47 is no different. If you’ve a weak stomach for violence, well, I still say read it, but maybe have someone in the room with you to help you through the bad parts.

But it’s not all violence and cruelty.  It’s also a message about the power of hope.  To watch 47, this 14-year-old boy who was not allowed to have a name; 47 was his position in the slave quarters.  The way Mr. Mosley portrayed the mental and emotional journey that moved him from a slave to a man brought tears to my eyes.

Let me also add, I also listened to the audiobook.  It was narrated by Ossie Davis, one of his last projects before his death.  The narration added a depth that made the story live.

A powerful book by a very talented author.

I love Walter Mosley.

6 thoughts on “47 by Walter Mosley

  1. I have a difficult time reading disturbing stories but I may have to try this one.

    Love(d) Ossie Davis …

    great post

  2. This story sounds fascinating, and I think I may have to read it, also. Shoot, I may even have to end up calling our new rescue mutt, “47” if our family continues to disagree on what to name him! Poor no-name pup!

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