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The Wave    by Walter Mosley order for
by Walter Mosley
Order:  USA  Can
Aspect, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Wave is quite different from anything else I've read by Walter Mosley. There's a mystical element to it, as the author explores the meaning of life, and what might be beyond death. Its protagonist is Errol Porter, whose wife has left him, and who's abandoned a high tech, high paying job to work in a pottery studio where he met Nella, an attractive woman from Jamaica.

Out of the blue, Errol starts receiving crank calls from a ghost, the ghost of his father no less. The caller knows things about Airy that no-one else does, tells him he's cold and asks for help. When Errol checks his father's grave, he finds it disturbed - with fresh dirt. He meets the caller, who's naked, foul-smelling, and a younger edition of his father. Errol takes him in; what else can he do? He calls the man Good Times, GT for short. Errol rationalizes that this must be a half-brother from a relationship his Papa had with another woman than his mother, though this doesn't explain GT's detailed knowledge of Errol's past.

GT speaks, lyrically for a madman, of The Wave, and explains that he's not exactly Errol's dad, but rather 'his memories, his blueprint. His heart', and that he's on a mission. He points Errol to evidence of an act his father committed, unknown to Errol and his mother, and then departs. Soon after Errol explores his parents' surprising history he's arrested by government agents, who already know a great deal about the phenomenon that Errol encountered, and consider it 'the greatest threat that the human race has ever faced.' The military fight a ghoulish invasion, while Errol sees something wondrous and acts on his beliefs - and he has a powerful ally.

This is an unusually absorbing story, with the subversive aspect that Mosley brings to all his fiction. I enjoyed his depiction of a most unusual alien life-form and of how it might manifest on Earth and communicate with humankind. Don't miss The Wave.

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