An Interview with Walter Mosley
Thursday, October 25, 2018 | 7 PM
The Ballroom at Bayou Place
500 Texas Ave, 77002
Walter Mosley requires no introduction. His award-winning, critically-adored body of work has sold millions of copies the world over. Though he is perhaps best known for his mysteries featuring the character Easy Rawlins, over the course of his long and prolific career, he has also written a handful of penetrating literary novels that wrestle with questions political and philosophical. His latest book is such a novel: the result of nearly 20 years of incubation, it is a dazzling and convention-defying novel of ideas about the sexual and intellectual coming-of-age of an unusual man who goes by the name Woman.
John Woman recounts the transformation of an unassuming boy named Cornelius Jones into John Woman, an unconventional history professor—while the legacy of a hideous crime lurks in the shadows.
At twelve years old, Cornelius, the son of an Italian-American woman and an older black man from Mississippi named Herman, secretly takes over his father’s job at a silent film theater in New York’s East Village. Five years later, as Herman lives out his last days, he shares his wisdom with his son, explaining that the person who controls the narrative of history controls their own fate. After his father dies and his mother disappears, Cornelius sets about reinventing himself—as Professor John Woman, a man who will spread Herman’s teachings into the classrooms of his unorthodox southwestern university and beyond. But there are other individuals who are attempting to influence the narrative of John Woman, and who might know something about the facts of his hidden past.
Engaging with some of the most provocative ideas of recent intellectual history, John Woman is a compulsively readable, deliciously unexpected novel about the way we tell stories, and whether the stories we tell have the power to change the world. It is essential reading in an age defined by fake news and alternative facts.