A major literary event: an explosive, previously unpublished novel from the 1940s by the legendary author of Native Son and Black Boy
Fred Daniels, a Black man, is picked up by the police after a brutal double murder and tortured until he confesses to a crime he did not commit. After signing a confession, he escapes from custody and flees into the city’s sewer system.
This is the devastating premise of this scorching novel, a masterpiece that Richard Wright was unable to publish in his lifetime. Written between his landmark books Native Son (1940) and Black Boy (1945), at the height of his creative powers, it would eventually see publication only in drastically condensed and truncated form in the posthumous collection Eight Men (1961).
Now, for the first time, by special arrangement with the author's estate, the full text of this incendiary novel about race and violence in America, the work that meant more to Wright than any other (“I have never written anything in my life that stemmed more from sheer inspiration”), is published in the form that he intended, complete with his companion essay, “Memories of My Grandmother.” Malcolm Wright, the author’s grandson, contributes an afterword.
About the Author
Richard Wright (1908-1960) is one of the most influential African American writers of the last century. His major works include the story collection Uncle Tom's Children, the novel Native Son, and the autobiography Black Boy/American Hunger.
Malcolm Wright, Richard Wright's grandson, is a filmmaker and conservationist.
"Resonates deeply as a story about race and the struggle to envision a different, better world. A welcome literary resurrection that deserves a place alongside Wright’s best-known work." —Kirkus (starred review)
"Finally, this devastating inquiry into oppression and delusion, this timeless tour de force, emerges in full, the work Wright was most passionate about, as he explains in the profoundly illuminating essay, 'Memories of My Grandmother,' also published here for the first time. This blazing literary meteor should land in every collection." —Booklist (starred review)
"The power and pain of Wright’s writing are evident in this wrenching novel. . . . Wright makes the impact of racist policing palpable as the story builds to a gut-punch ending, and the inclusion of his essay 'Memories of My Grandmother' illuminates his inspiration for the book. This nightmarish tale of racist terror resonates." —Publishers Weekly