Easy Rawlins is alive and recovering in Walter Mosley’s Little Green. Easy has had an accident, almost died; in fact he has dreamed he has died. He is recovering in the home of his foster children’s home now and the man who saved him, Raymond, has asked Easy to help him. Easy passes out once again after answering yes. He has been laid up for two months, yikes. It’s the late sixties in LA amidst all the racial tensions.
Mosley is having fun with us as he takes us back to the 60’s in LA after the riots and during the hippie movement. It is like an acid trip with Alice in Wonderland type of characters, actions, and scenes. It is a racially charged time filled with drugs and fast women. There is “Rockford Files” kind of feeling to the story. Easy finds the young man and he comes with a sack full of money, a beaten body, and a memory lost in an acid trip. Classic music is sprinkled liberally throughout the story as Easy moves from crash pads to day rate motels to drug hideouts to his own home that has been taken over by a squatter when everyone thought Easy was dead since that accident two months ago. Mosley does not make the 60’s romantic nor a place you would want to have been especially since easy is black and from his perspective life ain’t easy in LA after Watts.
This is a very timely book by Mosley. In the wake of Treyvon Martin and President Obama’s words about growing up in America as an African-American still have its challenges. Mosley has sprinkled throughout this wonderful novel, scenes where the recovering Easy is harassed by cops and is defended by white citizens. Certainly an important theme of this novel is racism as seen in the late 60’s and written in 2013. Not enough has changed in that time and Mosley is reminding us of this horrible fact, even when we have an African-American president.
At one point Easy thinks, “I was a black man in a white world where black men were hated – and worse, feared. Keith Handel, for all his shortcomings, was white. He was dead and I had survived. Where I came from that was a crime in itself.” Still is, just ask Treyvon Martin, especially if he had survived and Zimmerman hadn’t.