Native Son

Native Son

Paperback Vintage Classics

By (author) Richard Wright, Introduction by Caryl Phillips

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  • Publisher: VINTAGE
  • Format: Paperback | 480 pages
  • Dimensions: 129mm x 198mm x 29mm | 341g
  • Publication date: 1 March 2008
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0099282933
  • ISBN 13: 9780099282938
  • Sales rank: 32,484

Product description

Gripping and furious, "Native Son" follows Bigger Thomas, a young black man who is trapped in a life of poverty in the slums of Chicago. Unwittingly involved in a wealthy woman's death, he is hunted relentlessly, baited by prejudiced officials, charged with murder and driven to acknowledge a strange pride in his crime. "Native Son" shocked readers on its first publication in 1940 and went on to make Richard Wright the first bestselling black writer in America.

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Author information

Richard Wright was born near Natchez, Mississippi, in 1908. As a child he lived in Memphis, Tennessee, then in an orphanage, and with various relatives. He left home at fifteen and returned to Memphis for two years to work, and in 1934 went to Chicago, where in 1935, he began to work on the Federal Writers' Project. He published Uncle Tom's Children in 1938 and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in the following year. After the Second World War, he went to live in Paris with his wife and daughters, remaining there until his death in 1960.

Review quote

"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

Editorial reviews

Uncle Tom's Children was a collection of novelettes; this is a full length novel by perhaps the outstanding of the young Negro fiction writers. He writes with violence, with passion, with force. This new book is a powerful study of fear and hatred, of social forces in America today which have instilled these elements into the Negro. A convincing story of Bigger Thomas, a Chicago slum product, resentful, rebellious, ignorant, storing up fear and hatred that he must stifle daily. When he gets a job as chauffeur to some "emancipated "capitalists, his antagonism breaks out. He kills, by accident; and fear forces him to shift the blame. Another death is made necessary, he is caught and sentenced to death. A violent story, but a convincing one. (Kirkus Reviews)