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Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned (edition 1997)

by Walter Mosley

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5871516,791 (4.16)50
Member:othersam
Title:Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned
Authors:Walter Mosley
Info:Serpent's Tail (1997), Hardcover
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Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned by Walter Mosley

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Definitely one of the best books I have read this year. This was a true page turner that I never wanted to put down! I would wake up in the morning, yearning to pick it back up and see what Socrates was up to today. The main character is relatable, especially to those times (mid 90s Watts/South Central). Without giving anything away, I will say that this book is about regret and redemption and finding your way when the way seems lost. I am already more than a 1/3 of the way through the 2nd in the series. I can't WAIT to see what happens next! ( )
  rsalley76 | Mar 13, 2018 |

I've always tried to shy away from Walter Mosley. I'm not sure why. I've always thought I wouldn't read anything worthwhile and different from the rest of the pack. This time I've decided to give it a go. I'm glad I did.

Mosley fully captures the rhythms of people's lifes in South Central LA, resulting in a haunting look at a life bounded by lust, violence, fear, and a ruthlessly unsentimental moral vision.

I was also impressed with Mosley's efforts to bring philosophy back. The book is also full of moral dilemmas.

In spite of the bleak vision Socrates' character ultimately offers, he represents a vital moral wisdom. His role far surpasses the expectations for an ex-convict or anyone with his childhood background.

After finishing the book, I got the feeling John Ford could have directed it, changing the western landscape for the urban jungle, but using instead a gun-slinging mythology of street justice.

While this is a collection of short stories, it's not a straightforward anthology. Each of these stories builds on the events of the previous story, and certainly reads as well as any constructed novel. Socrates (aka Socco) is a fascinating character, and it's revealing to see the directions that his wounded pride takes him.

This was a very unpredictable and satisfying read, with moments where it got really sad and touching.

NB: Walkin' the Dog", the follow-up, is already on my TBR list... When my reading stack whittles down a bit, I'll read it." ( )
  antao | Dec 10, 2016 |
Socrates Fortlow is a black flawed ex-con trying to make his way in a white man's world in the 1980's Watts neighborhood of LA in 14 short stories that read like a novel. ( )
  lewilliams | May 10, 2016 |
This selection is hard to categorize---it isn't really a novel, but it isn't exactly a collection of short stories either. Whatever we call it, it works. Socrates Fortlow is a man who lives with violence and poverty, yet he finds life not only harsh, but beautiful as well. After serving 27 years in prison for a double murder, he has paid his debt to society, but hasn't let himself off the moral hook. His sense of right and wrong direct everything he does, and while some acts might fall outside the Law, Socrates has a keener definition of those terms than most inhabitants of his neighborhood--Watts in the 1990's. He is a man to be feared and respected, most especially when he is struggling to find a way to respect himself.
June 2012 ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Mar 1, 2016 |
After reading this book, I feel as if I knew the character of Socrates Fortlow better than some of my own friends and relatives. Mosley's seemingly simple, straightforward prose is powerfully evocative and multilayered, leaving much to reflect on. The sense that this is an honest expression of authentic experience is pervasive even though that experience is so unlike my own that I have almost no points of commonality with which to validate it.

These separate but intimately linked narratives depict a man putting all he's got into living right after having lived very wrong. Their clear-eyed disclosure of the ordinary and the sublime in a man's everyday struggle to preserve and fulfill his humanity inevitably holds a mirror up to the reader. As the very best stories will do, I felt that this book changed something in me. ( )
  Meredy | Oct 18, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0671014994, Paperback)

In this cycle of 14 bittersweet stories, Walter Mosley breaks out of the genre--if not the setting--of his bestselling Easy Rawlins detective novels. Only eight years after serving out a prison sentence for murder, Socrates Fortlow lives in a tiny, two-room Watts apartment, where he cooks on a hot plate, scavenges for bottles, drinks, and wrestles with his demons. Struggling to control a seemingly boundless rage--as well as the power of his massive "rock-breaking" hands--Socrates must find a way to live an honorable life as a black man on the margins of a white world, a task which takes every ounce of self-control he has.

Easy Rawlins fans might initially find themselves disappointed by the absence of a mystery to unravel. But it's a gripping inner drama that unfolds over the pages of these stories, as Socrates comes to grips with the chaos, poverty, and violence around him. He tries to get and keep a job delivering groceries; takes in a young street kid named Darryl, who has his own murder to hide; and helps drive out the neighborhood crack dealer. Throughout, Mosley captures the rhythms of Watts life in prose both musical and hard-edged, resulting in a haunting look at a life bounded by lust, violence, fear, and a ruthlessly unsentimental moral vision.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:31 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Socrates Fortlow, a tough, brooding ex-convict, explores philosophical questions of morality in a world beset with crime, poverty, and racism.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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