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The books, the hat and the political vibe of Walter Mosley

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Walter Mosley came onstage with KCRW’s Bookworm host Michael Silverblatt, but Mosley was missing his trademark fedora. Silverblatt assured the crowd: ‘The hat is here.’ And that it was, safely on the table between them.

The literary pair were at the Festival of Books on Sunday afternoon to discuss not one, not two, but three new books this year from Mosley. ‘Blonde Faith’ is said to be the last of the much-loved Easy Rawlins mystery series, the most famous of which is ‘Devil in a Blue Dress.’

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The series spans from 1939 to 1967, a time in which Mosley feels the life of a black man, such as Easy, changed a lot each year. Unlike other characters, Easy seems different every time, Mosley said. And though the books are set in the past, ‘I’m really writing about today,’ he said.

Mosley spoke too about a general sense of melancholy he senses in the American people today, a weariness from promises not being delivered, promises from politicians. He blamed capitalism for the situation -- ‘capitalism has enslaved everybody’ -- and shared that he left his Manhattan apartment when the rent was raised to $6,600 a month.

With a new president imminent, he feels confident that things will change. Mosley admits that he would like Barack Obama, a (fellow) black man, to be president, but adds a white woman wouldn’t be bad either.

In response to a question, Mosley said that he’s never felt threatened by being outspoken about his views. ‘I try very hard to be sensible in my arguments.’ A practice to take to heart.

--Leslie Anne Wiggins

(Photo: Walter Mosley in Brooklyn, N.Y., by Robert Caplin )

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