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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

When the Thrills Are Gone

... not that I have any thrills, but it's the title of Walter Mosley's most recent Leonid McGill mystery I'm listening to.

I've finally pinpointed the style issue in Mosley's novels. He is obviously a lateral thinker. His narratives are filled with analogies, similies, metaphors, and sidebar commentary. They inevitably meander and slow down the narrative drive. Sometimes it gets to be excessive.

His Easy Rawlins series were a lot more efficient, but McGill seems to represent an older and more contemplative Mosley and is therefore a lot more chatty. Is this a sign of growing old?

One funny thing about the McGill series, which I've only read 1.5 so far, is all the bizarre characters and settings, even though the stories always take place in New York City. Perhaps New York City really is this bizarre, but to me it sounds like Wonderland. McGill's father was a farm laborer-turned-Communist. His honorary uncle is a Chicago gangster boss. He is married to a Swedish woman who continually cheats on him. They have 4 children, of whom 3 were not fathered by McGill. Actually one child is the daughter of a Chinese jewlry dealer who died on Mrs. McGill in one of her escapades. McGill is in love with a half-Danish-half-Japanese woman who collects rent in his office building. He walks down the street into a mansion, in which lives a reclusive real estate tycoon who remains anonymous to the world and his neighbors. The tycoon is married to a black artist who paints on massive steel plates. This wife, who is now missing, has a modern hippie of a sister, who is living in a commune in an abandoned building, also in the City. And that's just a few of the characters. It's crazy!

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