Native Son Paperback – 16 Sep 2014
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"Before he was 40, Wright dominated literary America, publishing four books in seven years, each a triumph in its genre. His first novel, Native Son (1940), sold at the rate of 2,000 copies a day, making Wright the first best-selling black writer in the country's history. Black Boy (1945), his memoir of his Southern childhood, was a bigger success, selling more than a half-million copies." (New York Times)
"Richard Wright's Native Son is, in addition to being a masterpiece, a Great American Novel" (David Mamet Guardian)
"Unsettling urban violence from the man who was Mosley's inspiration" (The Times)
"Native Son is the story of a young black man who kills two white women; and it was the first book - published in 1940 - to suggest that black Americans could actually get angry. When it came out, it beat The Grapes of Wrath in the best-seller lists" (Independent) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Richard Wright's brutal and gripping novel was a huge hit - selling at a rate of 2,000 copies a day - on first publication in 1940. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The plot is sound, the only really implausible element being the gathering of the entire cast of characters in the prison cell, something Wright himself acknowledged could not happen in reality but for which he allowed himself dramatic license. It is true though, that the final phase goes on too long and the long diatribes from Max are unconvincing. Another socialist writer, Upton Sinclair, suffered from the same tendency to preach instead of relying on the story to carry the message. Despite these reservations, "Native Son" remains an important social commentary and a forceful and compelling portrait of a lost soul.
Wright has a lead character who is a bully,thug and coward whom he must bestow with deep insights into rabid racism, anti-semitism and pre McCarthy anti-Communism. These are major,worthy themes but for me Bigger just isn't the voice for them.
The trial scene is very weak descending into a polemic rant which Bigger 'don't understand' and I can sympathise with him at 'falling asleep through most of it'.
In 1940 this must have been powerful stuff and it's worth reading in that context. It chugs along and is worth 3 stars.
Mr Wright's 'Introduction' to this work states, 'I am not so pretentious as to imagine that it is possible for me to account completely for my own book...But I am going to try to account for as much of it as I can....' and 30 pages of Intro later he has had a good go! Pretentious?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A masterpiece. Why is none of Richard Wright's work not available on Kindle?Published 7 months ago by Macc Lass
Arrived on time, secondhand book, a few marks inside..still a good purchase.Published 11 months ago by christopher benjamin