Prolific stage and screen actor Leon Addison Brown performed a dramatic reading from The Awkward Black Man (Grove Press), an exceptional short story collection by narrative craftsman and beloved multi-genre author Walter Mosley. The seventeen stories are brilliant, vivid character studies featuring black men struggling to move through the world and navigating relationships.
Jamia Wilson, executive director and publisher of Feminist Press, joined Mosley in conversation after the reading.
The Awkward Black Man
By Walter Mosley
Published by Grove Press
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.