Fiction, Finding Your Self, Mosley-Walter, Social Commentary

#861 The Man in My Basement by Walter Mosley

The Man in My Basement by Walter MosleyThe Man in My Basement by Walter Mosley

Charles can’t get a job and he’s late on the mortgage payments. The house has been in the family for years, but he risks losing it. He asks about a job, but is turned down. Come to find out when Charles was a teller at the bank he stole some money and everyone knows about it. No one will hire him.

A white man offers Charles lots of money to rent his basement. Charles forgets about this for a while so he can drink, womanize, and masturbate; this is pretty much all he does. When he realizes that he’s not going to get a job, he takes the white man up on his offer. The man turns the basement into a prison cell. He wants to be treated as a prisoner. He’s committed some awful crimes in his past, which Charles is just dying to know about.

While the man is in the basement, Charles continues to drink, womanize, and masturbate. He does have some philosophical conversations with his prisoner, who gets some sort of self-torturing kick out of having a black man as a jailer. Charles also finds that some of his family heirlooms are worth a heck of a lot of money, but he doesn’t know how to handle the situation.

What I liked

I liked that Ernie Hudson read this book for the audio book.

What I didn’t like

Look, I know people have a lot of great things to say about this book philosophically. There’s a man who made himself a prisoner to atone for some awful wrong-doings he committed because society didn’t punish him and God hadn’t gotten around to it yet, at least this guy developed a sense of morality. That’s more than I can say for the basically alcoholic, serial womanizer, and chronic masturbator that Charles is. I’m not impressed with Charles. I bet he went right on back to drinking and womanizing the minute all of this was over, despite his supposed great philosophical awakening.

How in the heck do you write a book that talks about masturbating so much? This isn’t The Joy of Sex or She Comes First. This is a novel, but, I mean, I guess it’s ultimately up to the author whether or not they want to write a book punctuated with the word masturbate instead of semicolons.

I don’t particularly like Charles; he’s a loser and he’s always going to be a loser. He’s one of those people who are content to sit on the couch all day watching TV rather than being a productive member of society. Those kind of people irritate me.

Why the ever-loving #!$* would a woman, any woman, be interested in Charles? Sure, maybe he has a big penis, but that’s not enough of a reason to sleep with someone, but maybe my standards are much higher than everyone else’s.


This was a strange book, but at least Winston from Ghostbusters read it to me.

Weigh In

Do people who have no motivation irritate you?

What do you think about Charles?

#861 The Man in My Basement by Walter Mosley was originally published on One-elevenbooks