From the award-winning Walter Mosley comes a 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.
To start a Walter Mosley novel is like sitting down to a feast ... Lucia Napoli-Jones is such a vivid, vibrant presence in John Woman ... she is easily Mosley’s best secondary character since Mouse Alexander ... As usual, Mosley’s superpower lies in his slantwise take on the world and his characters, of whom there are dozens, and every one is memorable, even if they speak only a line or two ... this fantastic, surprising, humane and somewhat perverse book is one of Mosley’s best.
History and its manipulation is the all-consuming center of Walter Mosley’s new genre-bending novel ... There’s nothing but nits to pick with this book, and those land squarely within the realm of personal taste. A case can be made that many developments hinge on a preternatural amount of planning, and at times, the sex scenes veer into eye-rolling cheese ... he seamlessly combines elements of dystopian thrillers, psychological crime, philosophical fiction, and straightforward melodrama. His rich, earthy prose burrows through complex abstract ideas and suspenseful plot twists with equal utility.
This postmodern, literary story has the potential to bewilder or delight ... While a crime is at its core, John Woman is not a crime novel. It’s a full-blown literary endeavor, with all the pluses and minuses that may entail ... A literary novel is a character-driven thing, with plot subordinate. The downside to this is that the plots don’t always make sense. Convenient coincidences that place the character in a position to exhibit the emotion or trait the author wants at a given time lurk around every corner ... In the end, it’s all too convenient to be satisfying ... Passages that inspire head scratching are followed by authorial asides to ensure you get this point. That can work within reason, but done too often, it disturbs the vivid fictive dream the best books strive to achieve in the reader ... Passages that inspire head scratching are followed by authorial asides to ensure you get this point. That can work within reason, but done too often, it disturbs the vivid fictive dream the best books strive to achieve in the reader ... There’s a momentum to the writing that pulls the reader through to the end.