Flying_Monkey's Reviews > Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned

Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned by Walter Mosley
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M_50x66
's review
Dec 10, 09


This has to come close to being the best collection of short-stories written in English during the last twenty years.

At their best the taut writing and uncanny ability to explode the confusion and emptiness at the heart of many people's lives recalls Raymond Carver, but where Carver is content to leave his ethics enigmatic, Mosley is righteous and fierce. This is not to say that the central character, Socrates Fortlow is a judgemental moralist. Far from it. This burly ex-con with his huge rock-crushing hands and terrible past, is searching for truth in a world where truth is no much unfashionable as crushed out of people's souls by injustice. He is a seeker not a saviour.

The stories also form the link between Mosley's crime writing and his outstanding first SF novel, Blue Light, where issues of metaphysics are brought further into the foreground. Through the stories, Socrates acquires a kind of nobility that can only come from a totally honest struggle our own impulses as well as with the environment that surrounds us. There is a sense of place in 'Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned' that is very specific to 1980s Watts, but mythic and resonant and almost timeless at the same time. This only comes from genuine wisdom and understanding, qualities in which Mosley far outshines almost all contemporary authors.

There are one or two weaker stories, notably one in which Socrates gets involved with the courts again, but this is a collection to come back to. And as with Raymond Carver, I felt compelled to stop for quite some time after each one as the subtle but powerful emotional impact percolated through my brain.
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