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RL's Dream by Walter Mosley
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RL's Dream

by Walter Mosley

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Mosley disappointed me with this one. It started out very well, and I was engrossed in the story of Atwater "Soupspoon" Wise, an old blues man, appropriately down on his luck in his final days, who is rescued from eviction and homelessness by Kiki, a quirky red-head who seemingly just wants to right a wrong. Kiki has a messy inventory of problems of her own, arising from a history of particularly hideous abuse by her father. As the details of that past started to come out in the narrative, the story almost became too much for me, but I persisted with a hope that Mosley was going to show me something worth sharing Kiki's (and Soupspoon's) pain. And he tried, Lawd knows, he tried. But something fell apart about two thirds through the novel, and I got quite lost in new characters and sub-plots. There were brilliant scenes, and quotable passages, but they didn't add up to a solid sum for me. Mosley did what I think he may have been trying to do here SO much better in The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, and maybe if I hadn't already read that one, RL's Dream might have impressed me more.

Reviewed December 2013 ( )
1 vote laytonwoman3rd | May 27, 2015 |
From 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. ( )
  txorig | Feb 1, 2007 |
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For Leroy Mosley (1916-1993)
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Pain moved up the old man's hipbone like a plow breaking through hard sod.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393038025, Hardcover)

Recounting his memories to a young white woman who is also a refugee from a painful Southern past, Soupspoon Wise, a dying blues performer, describes a brief encounter with a famous performer that still haunts him. by the author of Black Betty. Tour.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:16 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

When a black musician in New York is evicted for non-payment of rent, a white woman living in the same apartment block takes him in. He is Soupspoon Wise, a gentle jazz guitarist from Mississippi who has cancer. She is Kiki Waters, a drinking, swearing redhead from Arkansas who works on Wall Street. The novel traces their menage.… (more)

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