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WALTER MOSELY

Newsweek regularly asks authors to name five books that are their favorites. In the April 2 issue, the editors queried Walter Mosley, creator of Easy Rawlins, a Los Angeles African American who frequently finds himself drafted into private investigator work in such novels as Devil in a Blue Dress. Mosley played the naming game but he started by disputing its premise: the most important books, he said, are read before the age of twelve, so any list of books read later must be wholly arbitrary. Mosley’s “five most important books” included The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud and The Stranger by Albert Camus, and he finished with Nos. 1-100 of the Fantastic Four, saying: “Jack Kirby’s work with Stan Lee creates an image of my childhood which carried me into fiction.” I don’t think Mosley read much Freud or Camus before the age of twelve, but I can believe him about the Fantastic Four. I can’t make sense of what he’s quoted as saying, though. An image of his childhood in blue spandex carried him into writing fiction? Or maybe he means he encountered the fiction Kirby and Lee created while in his childhood, and their fiction made him think he could write some of his own. That’s better.

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