Mosley’s fifth novel introduces not only new characters and issues, but also a different setting. Unlike the Easy Rawlins mysteries that are set in Los Angeles during a period prior to the contemporary moment, RL’s Dream is set in Manhattan in the latter 1980s. It charts the relationship of an aging and rapidly deteriorating former blues musician and his unlikely companion. Differing in race, gender, age, and general worldview, the two find commonality in their desire, their very need, for human contact. Suffering the ravages of an often indifferent environment, both Soupspoon Wise and Kiki Waters discover that one’s life can change for better or for worse with the simplest of gestures from another human being. With this novel, Mosley explores how individuals can form bonds and cultivate interdependent friendships across the social chasms of hatred and distrust.
Aging musician Atwater “Soupspoon” Wise has escaped a local men’s shelter and is determined to return to his former apartment. Though plagued by intense pain in his hip, Soupspoon reaches his destination, but not before soiling himself and suffering the stares of passersby. Soon after arriving home, the old man collapses on the floor.
In the following chapter Kiki Waters rides the subway home while ob-