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RL's Dream

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Overview

RL's Dream is a novel about the blues - the blues as an expression of black poetry and black tragedy and how they sit in judgment on the American experience. In contemporary New York, aging bluesman Soupspoon Wise is alone, ill, and dying. He has played his music in a thousand bars, clubs, and juke joints, but never so memorably as the time he played with one Robert "RL" Johnson in the Mississippi delta. That brief, indelible encounter with the great genius of country blues haunts Soupspoon, much as Johnson ...
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R L'S Dream

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Overview

RL's Dream is a novel about the blues - the blues as an expression of black poetry and black tragedy and how they sit in judgment on the American experience. In contemporary New York, aging bluesman Soupspoon Wise is alone, ill, and dying. He has played his music in a thousand bars, clubs, and juke joints, but never so memorably as the time he played with one Robert "RL" Johnson in the Mississippi delta. That brief, indelible encounter with the great genius of country blues haunts Soupspoon, much as Johnson himself is said to have been possessed by Satan. And so Soupspoon proceeds to tell his story to Kiki Waters, the young white woman who has taken him in, another refugee from a South she can neither deny nor escape.

The creator of the critically acclaimed Easy Rawlins mysteries further distinguishes himself with a memorable novel about the blues _ as an expression of black poetry and black tragedy_ and how they sit in judgment on the American experience.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
After four increasingly well-received crime novels starring Los Angeles PI Easy Rawlins, Mosley has moved strongly ahead to a more searching and deeply felt style and subject. He writes here of Atwater "Soupspoon"' Wise, a battered, failing relic of a man who once played backup to legendary Delta jazz guitarist Robert "RL" Johnson and who is now barely surviving on New York's Lower East Side. When we meet him, Soupspoon, who has cancer, is being evicted from his tiny apartment. Enter Kiki Waters, a hard-drinking, profane redhead who fled a life of horror and incest in Arkansas and now ekes out an uneasy living at a Wall Street insurance firm. With her tough street smarts, she stops the eviction cold, uses her office know-how to fake lavish health insurance for Soupspoon and moves him in with her. They cling together, these two outcasts from hard times, Soupspoon with a gentleness born of deep resignation, Kiki with a protective desperation fueled by booze and rage. Gradually, Soupspoon's life begins to mend: someone he knew as a kid in the South offers him a gig at his after-hours drinking place; a pretty young girl is drawn to his sweetness. But for Kiki, the only way out is through violence and flight. Mosley has always been a vivid writer, but here his work achieves a constant level of dark poetry: he flawlessly integrates Soupspoon's and Kiki's past harsh lives and memories with the keenly observed contemporary New York slum scene as the bittersweet blues constantly sound somber chords beneath. There is no false sentimental note anywhere in the book, just a deeply moving creation of two extraordinary people who achieve a powerful humanity where it would seem almost impossible it should exist.
Library Journal
Atwater "Soupspoon" Wise, an aging bluesman in New York City, is evicted from his apartment. Kiki Waters, a young white woman, takes him in, nursing him back to health and forging the necessary health insurance information to get him treated for cancer. The two form a strange friendship; both are from the South, and both have left behind pasts that demand to be dealt with. Soupspoon knew the legendary Robert "RL" Johnson in his youth and is haunted by the desire to learn the secret of Johnson's music; Kiki was abused by her father and ran away in her early teens. Mosley's swirl of characters, locales, and memories is intoxicating, and the plot moves forward relentlessly, taut as the mystery novels e.g., Black Betty, LJ 5/1/94 for which he is renowned. Highly recommended.
Library Journal
Atwater "Soupspoon" Wise, an aging bluesman in New York City, is evicted from his apartment. Kiki Waters, a young white woman, takes him in, nursing him back to health and forging the necessary health insurance information to get him treated for cancer. The two form a strange friendship; both are from the South, and both have left behind pasts that demand to be dealt with. Soupspoon knew the legendary Robert "RL" Johnson in his youth and is haunted by the desire to learn the secret of Johnson's music; Kiki was abused by her father and ran away in her early teens. Mosley's swirl of characters, locales, and memories is intoxicating, and the plot moves forward relentlessly, taut as the mystery novels (e.g., Black Betty, LJ 5/1/94) for which he is renowned. Highly recommended.
Bill Ott
Walter Mosley's first novel outside the confines of the crime genre proves every bit as distinctive as his celebrated Easy Rawlins mysteries. A searingly eloquent requiem for a bluesman, the book tells the story of Soupspoon Wise, a 70-year-old blues guitar player and singer from the Mississippi Delta, who faces the horror of a lonely death in New York City. Evicted from his Lower East Side apartment, he is rescued from the street by Kiki, a young southern woman with problems of her own; these two very different characters _ one young, white, angry, and on the run from an abusive family; the other old, black, world weary, and living on his memories of playing with legendary bluesman Robert "RL" Johnson 7#95; offer one another an opportunity to sort through their pasts and to reconnect with their emotional selves. Mosley's real subject here is pain, the agony of its all-too-specific reality and the oddly transforming way that sharing one's pain, whether through music or words or love, can keep the demons at bay, at least momentarily. It's not a new subject_pain is as old as life_but Mosley makes it new by pulling the threads that connect Soupspoon7#39;s pain to Kiki's, your pain to mine. That's what bluesmen do, of course, and it's what Robert Johnson did better than any of them: "Robert Johnson's blues would rip the skin right off yo' back. Robert Johnson's blues get down to a nerve most people don't even have no more." It's that nerve Mosley is searching for here, and when he finds it, you feel it. Yes, it hurts, but, like the blues, it hurts in that good kind of way.
Tom De Haven
Heartstopping...a beautiful little masterpiece...a meditation on the history and meaning of the blues and, in its sorrowful lyric, virtually a blues song itself...every part of this novel -- every page -- comes alive. -- Entertainment Weekly
Fredric Koeppel
You won't be prepared for the brilliance and adventuresome nature of RL'S DREAM…filled with reckless humor, sorrow and abandon that are as exhilarating as they are provocative.
—Fredric Koeppel, Memphis Commercial Appeal
Danielle Taylor
Fans of Mosley's Easy Rawlins series will not be disappointed by RL'S DREAM…Mosley's sense of timing and mystery is as powerful as ever…Mosley is a master storyteller, and in RL'S DREAM the blues are real.
—Danielle Taylor—Guthrie, Chicago Tribune
Digby Diehl
The most powerful and poetic novel about black life in America since Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man…Harsh, uplifting and unforgettable.
—Digby Diehl, Playboy
From the Publisher
Tom De Haven Entertainment Weekly Heart-stopping....a beautiful little masterpiece....a meditation on the history and meaning of the blues and, in its sorrowful lyric, virtually a blues song itself....Every part of this novel — every page — comes alive.

Danielle Taylor-Guthrie Chicago Tribune Fans of Mosley's Easy Rawlins series will not be disappointed by RL's Dream....Mosley's sense of timing and mystery is as powerful as ever....Mosley is a master storyteller, and in RL's Dream the blues are real.

Fredric Koeppel Memphis Commercial Appeal You won't be prepared for the brilliance and adventuresome nature of RL's Dream....filled with reckless humor, sorrow and abandon that are as exhilarating as they are provocative.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786205578
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 11/1/1995
  • Pages: 459

Meet the Author

Walter Mosley is the New York Times bestselling author of five Easy Rawlins mysteries: Devil in A Blue Dress, A Red Death, White Butterfly, Black Betty, and A Little Yellow Dog; three non-mystery novels, Blue Light, Gone Fishin', and R. L.'s Dream; two collections of stories featuring Socrates Fortlow, Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, for which he received the Anisfield Wolf Award, and which was an HBO movie; and a nonfiction book, Workin' On The Chain Gang. Mosley is also the author of the Leonid McGill, and Fearless Jones mystery series, The Tempest Tales and Six Easy Pieces. He is a former president of the Mystery Writers of America, a founder of the PEN American Center Open Book Committee, and is on the board of directors of the National Book Awards. A native of Los Angeles, he now lives in New York City.

Biography

When President Bill Clinton announced that Walter Mosley was one of his favorite writers, Black Betty (1994), Mosley's third detective novel featuring African American P.I. Easy Rawlins, soared up the bestseller lists. It's little wonder Clinton is a fan: Mosley's writing, an edgy, atmospheric blend of literary and pulp fiction, is like nobody else's. Some of his books are detective fiction, some are sci-fi, and all defy easy categorization.

Mosley was born in Los Angeles, traveled east to college, and found his way into writing fiction by way of working as a computer programmer, caterer, and potter. His first Easy Rawlins book, Gone Fishin' didn't find a publisher, but the next, Devil in a Blue Dress (1990) most certainly did -- and the world was introduced to a startlingly different P.I.

Part of the success of the Easy Rawlins series is Mosley's gift for character development. Easy, who stumbles into detective work after being laid off by the aircraft industry, ages in real time in the novels, marries, and experiences believable financial troubles and successes. In addition, Mosley's ability to evoke atmosphere -- the dangers and complexities of life in the toughest neighborhoods of Los Angeles -- truly shines. His treatment of historic detail (the Rawlins books take place in Los Angeles from the 1940s to the mid-1960s) is impeccable, his dialogue fine-tuned and dead-on.

In 2002, Mosley introduced a new series featuring Fearless Jones, an Army vet with a rigid moral compass, and his friend, a used-bookstore owner named Paris Minton. The series is set in the black neighborhoods of 1950s L.A. and captures the racial climate of the times. Mosley himself summed up the first book, 2002's Fearless Jones, as "comic noir with a fringe of social realism."

Despite the success of his bestselling crime series, Mosley is a writer who resolutely resists pigeonholing. He regularly pens literary fiction, short stories, essays, and sci-fi novels, and he has made bold forays into erotica, YA fiction, and political polemic. "I didn't start off being a mystery writer," he said in an interview with NPR. "There's many things that I am." Fans of this talented, genre-bending author could not agree more!

Good To Know

Mosley won a Grammy award in 2002 in the category of "Best Album Notes" for Richard Pryor.... And It's Deep, Too! The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings (1968-1992).

Mosley is an avid potter in his spare time.

In our 2004 interview, Mosley reveals:

"I was a computer programmer for 15 years before publishing my first book. I am an avid collector of comic books. And I believe that war is rarely the answer, especially not for its innocent victims."

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 12, 1952
    2. Place of Birth:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Education:
      B.A., Johnson State College
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(16)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

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2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2014

    Larkkit

    ^•^ Where are you!!!!!!!!???????? ^•^ ~Larkkit

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2013

    Luna

    Thank you...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2013

    Can i join.

    "My name is Comet" a dazzling she -wolf asked

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2013

    Riashu

    Wolf. But i am a human. ^_^

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2013

    Storm

    Um is this a wolf pack or a dog pack?!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    Shiroi

    A pretty white wolf with glowing orange eyes pads in. She walks up to Steel and asks, "May I join?"

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    Reolo

    Looks back at Hunter then hurried to the second result

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    Germany

    Ah i like duskpack

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2013

    Imari

    Aw...ok den...lol

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2013

    Desiree to hunter

    Heyy:)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2013

    Six Wolves

    Faron: *looks around*

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2013

    To luna

    Res 5

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2013

    TO ALLL

    IM SOOOO SORRY I WASNT ON FOR A WHILE!!!! I GOT SUPER BUSY IRL BUT IM BACK NOW!!!!

    ~SHADOWS RPER

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    Tito to all

    We moved to next res.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    Daninaz

    D

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2013

    Mist

    Slowely pads in. Her silver pelt an green eyes shining.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2013

    Slasher

    Scraches his head and goes to second res

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2013

    Snowdrop

    A completely white wolf pads in. Her blue eyes clouded with lack of eyesight.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2013

    Thresh

    Rocco i can watch over the camp

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2004

    Mosely's best work

    Having read all of the author's books to date, RL's Dream is his best literary work, in my opinion. Easy Rawlins and company have wonderful entertainment value, but this one is simply fine writing. It's advertised for $1.00 on the B&N site today - the absolute book bargain of the year!!

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