A history of terrible violence including rape and murder followed by 27 years of incarceration in a prison with its own codified violence have helped shape Socrates Fortlow, previously featured in two short story collections, Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned(1997) and Walkin' the Dog(1999). The hardened ex-con living in South Central L.A. has been chiseled by his experiences into a hulking essence of wise humanity. An initial gathering of diverse characters (a Muslim, a Jew, a Buddhist, a gambler, a singer, a lawyer, two killers, etc.) brought together by Socrates becomes an agent of change. The weekly "Thinkers' Meetings" grow despite internal dissension and attempts at suppression and subversion by authorities. The talks forge bonds, lead to actions, spread beyond L.A. and take on a life of their own. In the face of gangs, drugs, poverty and racism, Mosley poses the deceptively simple question-"What can I do?"-and provides a powerful and moving answer. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Right Mistake (Socrates Fortlow Series #3)by Walter Mosley
Living in south central L.A., Socrates Fortlow is a sixty-year-old ex-convict still strong enough to kill men with his bare hands. Filled with profound guilt about his own crimes and disheartened by the chaos of the streets, Socrates calls together local people of all races and social stations and begins to conduct a Thinkers’ Club, where all can discuss… See more details below
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Living in south central L.A., Socrates Fortlow is a sixty-year-old ex-convict still strong enough to kill men with his bare hands. Filled with profound guilt about his own crimes and disheartened by the chaos of the streets, Socrates calls together local people of all races and social stations and begins to conduct a Thinkers’ Club, where all can discuss life’s unanswerable questions.
Infiltrated by undercover cops and threatened by strain from within, the Thinkers’ Club doesn’t have it easy. But simply by debating racial authenticity, street justice, and the possibility of mutual understanding, Socrates and his unlikely crew actually begin to make a difference.
The Right Mistake is Walter Mosley at his most incisive. At once an affectionate and coruscating portrait of ghetto life, it abides the possibility of personal redemption and even, with great struggle, social change.
Socrates Fortlow returns in his third adventure (after Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned and Walkin' the Dog), ready to change his corner of South Central L.A. A reformed murderer and rapist, Socrates knows only too well his own emotional limitations and does his best to guide his friends, especially his ward, Darryl, in avoiding the same treacherous path. In an effort to stop talking and start doing, he gathers a diverse ethnic and religious group of community members for weekly "Thinkers' Meeting" discussions on different issues in his rented house, the Big Nickel. It becomes the spot for everyone to gather. From holding poetry slam nights to negotiating rival gang disputes, Socrates slowly starts to turn his community around but not without the constant harassment of local law enforcement. As the members of the meetings come away with their own personal victories and redemption, prolific author Mosley skillfully illustrates what can be accomplished in communities rife with racism and destitution. Highly recommended for popular fiction collections.
Joy St. John
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