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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
33


on 19 September 2015
I read this for book club and I found it quite difficult to get into at first. Then it became quite interesting for different reasons - there are race and class issues - the antagonist, Bigger Thomas, is a black American living in poverty in the Chicago in the 1930s, taken into employment by a wealthy white man, Mr Dalton, and given lodgings with his family. Alongside this is also a political angle - with Communists attempting to subvert the expected standards of societal behaviour. Bigger Thomas is employed by Mr Dalton, but his daughter attempts to treat Bigger as an equal leading him to feel uncomfortable and afraid. Bad things happen in this book and you can read the book for a social commentary on life in America in the 1930s or you can take all of those things out and just read it just as the story of the descent of a person into evil. At the heart of the book is the question, "how does such evil happen?"
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VINE VOICEon 5 April 2009
Bigger Thomas is a deeply disaffected black man living in post-Depression pre WW2 Chicago. He hates the white world as much as most of it appears to hate him and this novel recounts his tale through double murder,pusuit,capture and trial.

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?
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on 10 July 2017
This book I could not put down and a seriously shocking, harrowing story. I appreciated the book from the time he wrote it and the experiences of others. It was well written and interesting. Even though I am still gobsmacked I felt that I connected to every one of the characters at that time.
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on 15 October 2017
Marvellous Book & it hasn't dated
Still relevant now what with Black Lives Matter
This is the 3rd copy I have purchased over the years
Radical & perceptive
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on 9 June 2017
I liked the fact that the writer didn't hold back on the reality of how black and white people perceived each other's world.
Harsh writing that was ground breaking at that time
A true reflection of society that could still be true now.
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on 8 October 2017
Brought for son for school
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on 7 November 2017
A brilliant novel. It's underlying message is still so relevant today in the US as the black community continues to be held back.
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on 9 March 2016
Excellent
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on 17 November 2016
Masterful, epic and brutal portrayal of both sides of racial prejudice in America that's sadly relevant today ... Highly recommended
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on 22 October 2017
Great!
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