With his extraordinary fiction and gripping television writing, Walter Mosley has proven himself a master of narrative tension. The Awkward Black Man collects seventeen of Mosley’s most accomplished short stories to showcase the full range of his remarkable talent. Touching, contemplative, and always surprising, these stories introduce an array of imperfect characters—awkward, self-defeating, elf-involved, or just plain odd.
In The Awkward Black Man, Mosley overturns the stereotypes that corral black male characters and paints subtle, powerful portraits of unique individuals. In "The Good News Is," a man’s insecurity about his weight gives way to illness and a loneliness so intense that he’d do anything for a little human comfort. "Pet Fly," previously published in the New Yorker, follows a man working as a mailroom clerk—a solitary job for which he is overqualified—and the unforeseen repercussions he endures when he attempts to forge a new connection. And "Almost Alyce" chronicles failed loves, family loss, alcoholism, and a Zen approach to the art of begging that proves surprisingly effective.
Winner of the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Fiction
A New York Times Editors' choice
A Washington Post 50 Notable Fiction Selection
A Boston Globe Best Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
"The title of Mosley's latest story collection, " The Awkward Black Man," is both a spot-on descriptor and yet one that only hints at the broad range of people we find in the book's pages...Reading these stories, you feel as if you're sitting with a gifted storyteller while he spins yarns about the strange people living in his mind. The prolific Mosley delights in the wonderfully bizarre...Each protagonist seems simple and often shallow on the surface, but as the story progresses he unfurls into greater and frankly breathtaking complexity."-- New York Times
"Mr. Mosley is a famous crime writer, but this collection is nearer to the recent work of Julian Barnes and Roddy Doyle...In practiced, plainspoken prose, [Mosley] presents a gallery of old men facing divorce, illness or perhaps some more unnamable crisis of existence...The humble stories befit their soft-spoken antiheroes."--Wall Street Journal
"Mosley might be best known for his mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins, but in these short stories, we see the prolific author as a chronicler of Black life in America. As he overturns stereotypes and focuses on individual characters, Mosley asks us not to look away from men who are isolated and awkward, but to see them as human beings in full."-- Washington Post
"Seventeen bold stories of brokenhearted Black men...The stories are tinged with sardonic humor and acerbic observations, many echoing the pained, bristling voices of Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin."-- New Yorker
"These stories tap into the vulnerability and indignity of the human condition, but also its remarkable, even irrational, commitment to hope."-- Buzzfeed