October 16, 2010

Cocktail Talk: Black Betty

Before leaving for Italy (detailed on my blog Six Months In Italy), I went through and re-read almost all the Easy Rawlins books by Walter Mosley. I think Mosley is one of the finest writers living today, and think the Easy Rawlins books are the best Mosley books (and too often talked about only as detective fiction, which is silly as they transcend genre by the end of the first page, if not the first sentence, of the first book, Devil in a Blue Dress). These books are, like Dickens in a way, imaginative tour de forces due to their ability to summon up a specific time and place (LA is the place for Easy Rawlins, with the times starting in the 50s and moving on up) so completely you become completely immersed in it, and in the characters, which feel real in their motivations and feelings and actions and thoughts, as real as people who walked the earth at any time in history. So, if you haven’t read Mosley, get after it. Black Betty is a book in the middle part of the Easy Rawlins collection, and this quote is one of the best I’ve read about whiskey, the soul of it and the underlying personality whiskey carries with every sip.


There are few things as beautiful as a glass bottle filled with deep amber whiskey. Liquor shines when the light hits it, reminiscent of precious things like jewels and gold. But whiskey is better than some lifeless bracelet or coronet. Whiskey is a living thing capable of any emotion that you are. It’s love and deep laughter and brotherhood of the type that bonds nations together.

Whiskey is your friend when nobody else comes around.

And whiskey is solace that holds you tighter than most lovers can.


–Walter Mosley, Black Betty

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