The Man In My Basement

If you have not read Mosley you might find this book weird. OK, it is weird.

Charles Blakely lives in the family thee story house in Sag Harbor on the far eastern end of Long Island. His family settled in the area more than two centuries earlier. They were free blacks who came to make a new life for themselves. As far as Charles knows, not one of his ancestors were slaves.

It is now 2004 and Charles is the only family member living in the house. He is thirty-three years old and unmarried. In fact, he is unemployed and about to lose his ancestral home.

Anniston Bennet, a short, bald white man knocks on his door and asks if he can rent the basement for the summer–for fifty thousand dollars. Charles sends him packing. He has poker to play–penny-ante–and liquor to drink.

But life without money soon changes his way of thinking and he allows Mr Bennet to rent the basement. For a time Bennet does not alter Charles’ life-style, except that the advance payment makes the bank payments and puts food, and liquor, on the table.

One firm condition of the rental agreement is that no one must know of Bennet’s presence, so Charles can no longer have his friends over.

As the days pass, Charles learns hard lessons from Bennet; lessons that eventually lead him to become the man he should have become a decade earlier.

Mosley is a master storyteller. His characters are richly developed and their interactions are authentic.

Mike Lawrence

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