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A Father's Law (Paperback)
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“An intense, provocative, and vital crime story that excavates paradoxical dimensions of race, class, sexism, family bonds, and social obligation while seeking the deepest meaning of the law." — Booklist
Originally published posthumously by his daughter and literary executor Julia Wright, A Father’s Law is the novel Richard Wright, acclaimed author of Black Boy and Native Son, never completed. Written during a six-week period prior to his death in Paris in 1960, it offers a fascinating glimpse into the writer’s process as well as providing an important addition to Wright’s body of work.
In rough form, Wright expands the style of a crime thriller to grapple with themes of race, class, and generational conflicts as newly appointed police chief Ruddy Turner begins to suspect his own son, Tommy, a student at the University of Chicago, of a series of murders in Brentwood Park. Under pressure to solve the killings and prove himself, Turner spirals into an obsession that forces him to confront his ambivalent relationship with a son he struggles to understand.
Prescient, raw, and powerful, A Father's Law is the final gift from a literary giant.
“We can be grateful for what [Wright] left behind and for what this book gives us to contemplate.” — Washington Post Book World
About the Author
Richard Wright won international renown for his powerful and visceral depiction of the black experience. He stands today alongside such African-American luminaries as Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison, and two of his books, Native Son and Black Boy, are required reading in high schools and colleges across the nation. He died in 1960.
“Wright’s masterful depiction of Turner’s states of mind and Tommy’s catalytic antagonism leads us into a vortex. . . . The novel is a summation of Wright’s aesthetic.”
— Jerry W. Ward, Jr., Natchez Democrat
"A powerfully written, compelling crime novel. Richard Wright’s final work, including its moving introduction by his daughter Julia, is a fitting tribute to the centennial of this great writer’s birth. His voice, above all others, reveals the searing pain and anger of black consciousness in America."
— William Ferris, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“A Father’s Law is vintage Richard Wright: the emotion, the intensity, the suspense make it of a piece with Wright’s major novels and short stories. It is a gripping tale of fear, uncertainty and confusion.”
— Amritjit Singh
“Any undiscovered material from his illustrious career would be considered a literary treasure. . . . [From a] master of psychological torment.”
— Seattle Times