An odd story that is engrossing in its' perception of the antagonist and the protagonist. A recommended read- I'd really like to keep this to read over and over, but I just have too many great books and this one needs to be shared
This was a great book. I have since read other Walter Mosley books, the Easy Rawlins mysteries, for example, and this book is completely different. It is a unique, challenging story told in a very interesting way. It is an artful and significant book and I highly recommend it.
I'm betting you will really enjoy this. Especially if you have a yen for understanding the way the world works. It is a bizarre story of a thirty someting black man on Long Island living in his family's two hundred year old house. His parents have died. Charles has no money, is behind on his mortgage, has no job or job prospects and will soon have to restart his life elsewhere if something doesn't come together for him. Then a somewhat diminuitive white man offers him an obscene amount of money for rent for Charles' cellar for the summer. Remember the old storm cellars or root cellars we had growing up? This is probably one notch up from those and larger, but the concept is the same. No windows and one exit through a trap door.
The proposition is so wierd that Charles initially turns it down, but reconsiders as his money needs come more to the fore. In time the deal is struck. Mr. Bennett, the renter, will stay there 75 days during the summer during which time the only person to see him will be Charles. Mr. Bennett has chosen to imprison himself for punishment of many crimes against humanity at large.
This could be read entirely as an allegory [ noun: a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms; figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another]and probably is intended exactly that way. So read it with that in mind and you will laugh and cry.
You will see the man as evil-in-action in the world. Not a prosecutable criminal, but the kind of evil that we don't like to think of in international business and politics-- repleat with all the death, distruction, denudement of the world and other such as we like to cry out about to a deaf world. Charles, on the other hand, is nothing as seen by the world. He is free loving, free living... and becoming penniless.
Consider then that Charles becomes the unwitting jailer of the master of evil and that they get into dialogue, not only in words but in action as well. You will love it.
Also has a lot of sex interest--Charles is neither a monogomist or one to pass on opportunity.
So get it. Basic Philosophy, world economics, world power politics and stuff played out through ordinary living plus a totally bizarre twist.
This is not your usual Walter Mosley-Easy Rawlins fare, but it is well worth your time as you try to put together what motivates the main character and the man in his basement. Startling at times, but unflinching as it moves forward.