Read The Walter Mosley Omnibus: Devil In A Blue Dress, A Red Death, White Butterfly. by Walter Mosley Free Online
Book Title: The Walter Mosley Omnibus: Devil In A Blue Dress, A Red Death, White Butterfly.|
Date of issue: July 23rd 1998
ISBN 13: 9780330336260
The author of the book: Walter Mosley
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 511 KB
Read full description of the books The Walter Mosley Omnibus: Devil In A Blue Dress, A Red Death, White Butterfly.:Devil in a Blue Dress - 4/5 - Beautiful noir-ish writing, but a little bit rushed in parts. I saw the film of this a few years ago. I can't quite put my finger on every difference, but broadly felt that a lot of the big plot points were done slightly better there whilst the characterisation and scene setting was much more troubling here. Some parts had me shaking with rage. Extremely effective.
A Red Death - 4.5/5 - The plot is possibly a little on the implausible side, but the stylish noir trappings and paranoiac atmosphere carry it. Easy Rawlins is an inspired character, tough, intelligent, compassionate... whilst also painfully aware of his own moral failings.
White Butterfly 5/5 - Almost impossible to review. As a detective story it's all over the shop. The detective bits that move the plot forward are more or less perfunctory. Rawlins is barely engaged with the case until the last fifty pages, which are rushed, and the 'White Butterfly' herself is an almost totally ephemeral presence in the story. Indeed for a detective Rawlins seems totally oblivious to something that's quite obvious to the reader: (view spoiler)[ that his wife is cheating on him, and planning to walk out (hide spoiler)].
Often, rather than a detective novel Mosley seems far more interested in writing a story about an essentially good man being torn apart by a horrifically racist society and his own flaws; (view spoiler)[ trusting the wrong people, not trusting the right people enough, near-obsessive caginess, and a frankly OTT sex-drive (hide spoiler)]. Rawlins is a good man at heart, but he's a long way off Chandler's famous quote about the pulp detective being someone walking the mean streets 'who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid...'
As a detective novel White Butterfly is easily the weakest of the three, but it's also the best written and by far and a way the most challenging. LA becomes a horrfying, sordid hellscape, with sexual exploitation, racism and classism an everyday fact of life. Rawlins's childhood friend Mouse functions less as a sidekick and more like a demonic familiar, tempting Easy to take the easy (pun unintended) route of violence and self-interested hedonism. If Mosley wasn't as smart a writer as he is Mouse's unhinged charisma would swamp the text. As it is he's used sparingly, and it's Rawlins's paternal feelings for his adopted son (view spoiler)[ and the 'White Butterfly's missing daughter (hide spoiler)] that ultimately give the novel it's moral centre.
Sorry, I know that was all a bit of a ramble, but I'm trying to work out my feelings towards the final novel in the collection as I go here. Would it have been better if Mosley had just written a book about Easy Rawlins's life, his marriage, and his property business, and scrapped the detective elements? Probably, but you can't blame a chap for wanting to make a living. at some points, I was struck by the feeling I was reading a 'transitional novel' with Mosley trying out a more litr'ry style and subject matter than he'd used in the first two, but not quite finding the balance.
In General: Mosley's strength lies more in character, setting and atmosphere than plot. That's no bad thing in itself, and there's a sense here that he's trying out new things in each novel and getting better each time. All the same, White Buttefly was a disorientating experience, and I hope that in future novels Mosley finds a way to thread the detective elements more neatly into the whole.
Read information about the authorWalter Mosley (b. 1952) is the author of the bestselling mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins, as well as numerous other works, from literary fiction and science fiction to a young adult novel and political monographs. His short fiction has been widely published, and his nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and the Nation, among other publications. Mosley is the winner of numerous awards, including an O. Henry Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, a Grammy, and PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He lives in New York City.
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