Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

The Awkward Black Man

by Walter Mosley

A masterful collection of stories that showcases one of the country’s most beloved and acclaimed writers—award-winning author, Walter Mosley

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 352
  • Publication Date September 21, 2021
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5685-3
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $17.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 336
  • Publication Date September 15, 2020
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-4956-5
  • Dimensions 6" x 9"
  • US List Price $26.00
  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Publication Date September 15, 2020
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5686-0
  • US List Price $26.00

Bestselling author Walter Mosley has proven himself a master of narrative tension, both with his extraordinary fiction and gripping writing for television. The Awkward Black Man collects seventeen of Mosley’s most accomplished short stories to showcase the full range of his remarkable talent.

Mosley presents distinct characters as they struggle to move through the world in each of these stories—heroes who are awkward, nerdy, self-defeating, self-involved, and, on the whole, odd. He overturns the stereotypes that corral black male characters and paints a subtle, powerful portrait of each of these unique individuals. In “The Good News Is,” a man’s insecurity about his weight gives way to a serious illness and the intense loneliness that accompanies it. Deeply vulnerable, he allows himself to be taken advantage of in return for a little human comfort in a raw display of true need. “Pet Fly,” previously published in the New Yorker, follows a man working as a mailroom clerk for a big company—a solitary job for which he is overqualified—and the unforeseen repercussions he endures when he attempts to forge a connection beyond the one he has with the fly buzzing around his apartment. And “Almost Alyce” chronicles failed loves, family loss, alcoholism, and a Zen approach to the art of begging that proves surprisingly effective.

Touching and contemplative, each of these unexpected stories offers the best of one of our most gifted writers.

Advance Praise for The Awkward Black Man:

“The tough-minded and tenderly observant Mosley’s style remains constant throughout these stories even as they display varied approaches from the gothic to the surreal. The range and virtuosity of these stories make this Mosley’s most adventurous and, maybe, best book.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Mosley delivers a vibrant collection of 17 luminous stories, many with a focus on downtrodden and troubled protagonists… Each entry is a testament to Mosley’s enduring literary power.”—Publishers Weekly

“These 17 old and more recent stories… feature distinctive characters, plus Mosley’s jazzy prose and extraordinary insights. It’s a tender, sad and gripping collection.”—AARP

“Fifty-plus books into his career, Mosley hasn’t run out of inspired plots, and his interest in social issues remains acute, although he editorializes with the lightest of touches; The Awkward Black Man teems with sharp, quippy dialogue and not a sentence suffers the indignity of a frill… This primo story collection by an author best known for his crime fiction reaffirms his place in the literary pantheon.”—Shelf Awareness

“Master storyteller Mosley has created a beautiful collection about Black men who are, indeed, awkward in their poignant humanity… Mosley’s is an essential American voice and his portraits of Black men will have profound resonance.”—Booklist (starred review)

Praise for Walter Mosley:

“When reviewing a book by Walter Mosley, it’s hard not to simply quote all the great lines. There are so many of them. You want to share the pleasures of Mosley’s jazz-inflected dialogue and the moody, descriptive passages reminiscent of Raymond Chandler at his best.”―Washington Post, on Down the River Unto the Sea

“A daring, beautifully wrought story that incorporates elements of allegory, meditative reflection and the lilt of lyric tragedy. ”―Los Angeles Times, on The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey

“With Mosley, there’s always the surprise factor ― a cutting image or a bracing line of dialogue.”―New York Times Book Review, on And Sometimes I Wonder About You

“Mosley’s invigorating, staccato prose and understanding of racial, moral and social subtleties are in full force.”―Seattle Times, on Known to Evil

“Mosley is the Gogol of the African-American working class ― the chronicler par excellence of the tragic and the absurd.”―Vibe

“[Mosley] has a special talent for touching upon these sticky questions of evil and responsibility without getting stuck in them.”―New Yorker