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Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned Paperback – Oct 1 1998

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press (Oct. 1 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671014994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671014995
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.5 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #376,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From Amazon

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Esteemed actor Paul Winfield impeccably reads these "unabridged selections" from the cycle of 14 nonmystery stories in which Mosley introduces a new character, Socrates Fortlow. He is a brooding ex-convict who is stuggling to make sense of the violence, crime, fear, and disrespect in the black community where he lives. Each story focuses on a moral issue with which we witness Socrates argue, question, and fight his way to a dignified and responsible position and course of action. A winning production; highly recommended for all fiction collections.?Kristen L. Smith, Loras Coll. Lib., Dubuque, Iowa
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
The novel ~Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned~ by Water Mosley is a dramatic story that follows the adulthood of Socrates Fortlow; a convicted rapist and murderer who lives in Watts, Los Angeles. After being in prison for 27 years, Socrates tries to redeem himself by helping others with their own troubles and problems. Throughout the book, he comes across many people who change his life while he helps them. Socrates' journey shows him that life goes on even after it has stopped for him. He especially tries to help Darryl, a teenager who is on the same path of self-destruction that Socrates took, with his uneasy life in the ghetto. And as Socrates comes in contact with more and more people, he realizes that there is some humanity left within him and maybe even this world.
This book has many adult themes in it from the dialogue to the main character being a convicted rapist and murderer. We believe this book should be read by more advanced readers. The format of the book is very complex. It does not go in chronological order. A chapter might begin with something that happened three weeks before the initial reading, and the whole chapter might be on that sole event. If you have read ~House on Mango Street~ by Sandra Cisneros, which follows the same format, this novel is not so hard. However, if you have not experienced this kind of reading before, you might find yourself lost frequently. Anyone below high school will have a hard time with this book. ~Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned~ has many dramatic and depressing themes and chapters. We do not suggest this if you are looking for an uplifting book.
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By flying-monkey on Oct. 1 2002
Format: Paperback
This has to come close to being the best collection of short-stories written in English during the last twenty years.
At their best the taut writing and uncanny ability to explode the confusion and emptiness at the heart of many people's lives recalls Raymond Carver, but where Carver is content to leave his ethics enigmatic, Mosley is righteous and fierce. This is not to say that the central character, Socrates Fortlow is a judgemental moralist. Far from it. This burly ex-con with his huge rock-crushing hands and terrible past, is searching for truth in a world where truth is no much unfashionable as crushed out of people's souls by injustice. He is a seeker not a saviour.
The stories also form the link between Mosley's crime writing and his outstanding first SF novel, Blue Light, where issues of metaphysics are brought further into the foreground. Through the stories, Socrates acquires a kind of nobility that can only come from a totally honest struggle our own impulses as well as with the environment that surrounds us. There is a sense of place in 'Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned' that is very specific to 1980s Watts, but mythic and resonant and almost timeless at the same time. This only comes from genuine wisdom and understanding, qualities in which Mosley far outshines almost all contemporary authors.
There are one or two weaker stories, notably one in which Socrates gets involved with the courts again, but this is a collection to come back to. And as with Raymond Carver, I felt compelled to stop for quite some time after each one as the subtle but powerful emotional impact percolated through my brain.
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Format: Paperback
Meet Socrates Fortlow, a man who served years of prison time for the deaths and rape of a young couple, getting out of prison and trying to adjust to life on the outside as well as trying to come to terms with the life he led before and during his incarceration. During this fourteen short story run, the supporting cast are just as strong as they are flawed, much like Socrates himself. It was this character trait that kept me reading until the end. Socrates lived a hard life and he paid the price for it, however, throughout this book, his anger and resentment has made him not only a heroic figure, but a tragic one as well. Where else can you come across a man that will put together a plan to run a drug dealer out of his neighborhood, and the next story will have him standing in the face of one of his friends and tell him that he will stab him in the back to get with his wife and kids if he doesn't straighten up and fly right? It's these complex traits that make Mr. Fortlow such a facinating character, and this a facinating book.
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By "kgdc1" on Aug. 17 2001
Format: Paperback
This book was quite a refreshing change from what I've recently read. I (and the other book club members) looked at our recent books. Each one was authored by an African American woman and had as its general theme strife within male/female relationships. The author of this book is an African American male (mystery writer turned novelist) and the general theme is one man's battle with himself. It was really really excellent.
From a pure text viewpoint, the writing was raw and gritty. None of the glossy, drippy, name-brand references of the women writers was present here. This was all generic stuff Mr. Fortlow used or wanted or thought about.
Mr. Fortlow comes from prison and eventhough he faces great opposition at almost every turn, he gets a job, helps an at-risk youth, comforts a dying friend, and most importantly learns how to control the anger that spurs his 'rock breaking hands' to action. He uses his powers for good instead of evil.
This book is definitely worth reading. The sequel, Walking the Dog, is probably worth reading, too.
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