Native Son

Native Son


Bigger Thomas has grown up in Chicago’s slums, reckless, angry and adrift.

A respectable job with the affluent Dalton family provides hope but sets him on course for a catastrophic collision between his world and theirs. Hunted by citizen and police alike, and baited by prejudiced officials, Bigger finds himself the cause célèbre in an ever-narrowing endgame.

First published in 1940, Native Son shocked readers with its candid depiction of violence and confrontation of racial stereotypes. It went on to make Richard Wright the first bestselling black writer in America.

‘In addition to being a masterpiece, a Great American Novel' Guardian

'The most important and celebrated novel of Negro life to have appeared in America' James Baldwin


About the author

Richard Wright

Richard Wright was born near Natchez, Mississippi, in 1908, to a sharecropping family of ex-­slaves. His mother was a schoolteacher but, abandoned by her husband, she had to resort to menial jobs to feed her two sons before suffering a series of strokes. During a childhood scarred by hunger, Wright lived in Memphis, Tennessee, then in an orphanage, and with various relatives. He left home at fifteen, returned to Memphis for two years to work, and in 1934 went to Chicago where he was employed at the Post Office before beginning work at the Federal Writers' Project in 1935. He published Uncle Tom's Children in 1938 and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship the following year. His other books include Native Son (1940), his autobiography, Black Boy (1945), and The Outsider (1953). After the war, Richard Wright chose expatriation and went to live in Paris with his family, remaining there until his death in 1960.
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