MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Excerpt from Down the River unto the Sea by Walter Mosley, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Down the River unto the Sea

by Walter Mosley

Down the River unto the Sea by Walter Mosley X
Down the River unto the Sea by Walter Mosley
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2018, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2019, 336 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"They framed me, Glad."

My friend winced and shook his head again.

"They framed me!"

"Look, Joe," he said after a full thirty seconds of silence. "I'm not saying they didn't. But we all know what you're like with the ladies, and then there's that other thing."

"What thing?"

"If it's a frame it's airtight. From the video to the girl's testimony, they've got you as a predator. You were pulling her by the hair, for chrissakes."

"She asked me to," I said, realizing what those words would sound like in front of a jury.

"No audio on the tape. It looks like she was begging you to stop."

I wanted to say something but couldn't find the right words.

"But it's not that that's the problem," Gladstone said. "The problem is you got powerful enemies who can reach in here and snuff you out."

"I need a cigarette," I replied.

My only friend in the world lit a Marlboro, stood up from his chair, and placed it between my lips. I took in a deep draw, held it, and then blew the smoke from my nostrils.

The smoke felt wonderful in my lungs. I nodded and inhaled again.

I will never forget the chill in that room.

"You got to be cool, Joe," my dispatcher said. "Don't be talking about a frame in here, or to your lawyer. I'll look into this and I'll talk to the chief of Ds too. I got a contact in his office. I know a couple of people here too. They're going to take you out of gen pop and put you in solitary confinement. At least that way you'll be safe until I can work some magic."

It's a terrible fall when you find yourself grateful to be put in segregation.

"What about Monica?" I asked. "Can you get her in here to see me?"

"She don't wanna see you, King. The detective on the case, Jocelyn Bryor, showed her the tape."

* * *

My gratitude for getting solitary didn't last long. The room was dim and small. I had a cot, a hard-edged aluminum toilet, and two and a half paces of floor space. I could touch the metal ceiling by raising my hand six inches above my head. The food sometimes turned my stomach. But because they fed me only once a day I was always ravenous. The fare was reconstituted potatoes and corned beef jerky, boiled green beans and, once a week, a cube of Jell-O.

I wasn't alone because of the roaches, spiders, and bedbugs. I wasn't alone because the dozens of men around me, also in isolation, spent hours hollering and crying, sometimes singing and pounding out rhythmic exercises.

One man, who somehow knew my name, would often regale me with insults and threats.

"I'm gonna fuck you in the ass, and when I get outta here I'm'a do the same to your wife an' little girl."

I never gave him the satisfaction of a response. Instead I found an iron strut that had somehow come loose from the concrete floor. I worried that little crosspiece until finally, after eight meals, I got it free.

Nine inches of rusted iron with a handle torn from my threadbare blanket. Somebody was going to die behind that shard of Rikers; hopefully it would be the man who threatened my family.

* * *

Never, not once, did they take me from that cell. In there I craved a newspaper or a book…and a light to read by. Bunged up in solitary confinement, I fell in love with the written word. I wanted novels and articles, handwritten letters, and computer screens filled with the knowledge of the ages.

During those weeks I accomplished a heretofore impossible feat: I gave up smoking. I had no cigarettes and the withdrawal symptoms just blended in with the rest of my suffering.

The other prisoners' complaints became background noise like elevator music or a song you'd heard so often but never knew the words.

Excerpted from Down the River unto the Sea by Walter Mosley. Copyright © 2018 by Walter Mosley. Excerpted by permission of Mulholland. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Sleepovers
    Sleepovers
    by Ashleigh Bryant Phillips
    In Ashleigh Bryant Phillips' debut story collection, Sleepovers, it can be difficult to keep tabs on...
  • Book Jacket
    The Beekeeper of Aleppo
    by Christy Lefteri
    In Christy Lefteri's sophomore novel, The Beekeeper of Aleppo, the author introduces readers to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Cantoras
    by Carolina De Robertis
    Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis follows five characters who share a house, troubles, joys and parts...
  • Book Jacket: Daughters Of Smoke & Fire
    Daughters Of Smoke & Fire
    by Ava Homa
    Ava Homa's debut novel begins with an epigraph by Sherko Bekas, a Kurdish poet, the last lines of ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Voyage of the Morning Light
    by Marina Endicott

    A sweeping novel set aboard a merchant ship sailing through the South Pacific in 1912.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Beekeeper of Aleppo
by Christy Lefteri

This moving, intimate, and beautifully written novel puts human faces on the Syrian war.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Of Bears and Ballots

An Alaskan Adventure in Small-Town Politics

A charming account of holding local office with an entertaining, quirky cast of characters.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A S Louder T W

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.