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Extended Audio Sample Man Gone Down, by Michael Thomas Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (916 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michael Thomas Narrator: Beresford Bennett Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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On the eve of his thirty-fifth birthday, the unnamed black narrator of Man Gone Down finds himself broke, estranged from his white wife and three children, and living in the bedroom of a friend’s six-year-old child. He has four days to come up with the money to keep the kids in school and make a down payment on an apartment for them in which to live.

As we slip between his childhood in inner city Boston and present-day New York City, we learn of a life marked by abuse, abandonment, raging alcoholism, and the best and worst intentions of a supposedly integrated America. This is a story of the American Dream gone awry, about what it’s like to feel preprogrammed to fail in life and the urge to escape that sentence.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Powerful and moving…An impressive success…[Thomas] knows how the odds are stacked in America. He knows the unlikelihood of successful black fatherhood. He knows that things are set up to keep the Other poor and the poor in their place. More than anything else, he knows how little but also—fortunately—how much it can take to bring a man down.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “[A] jazzy, sinewy debut…Thomas’s urgent, quicksilver prose makes even the darkest moments of this novel shine.”

    O, the Oprah Magazine

  • “Michael Thomas is a thoughtful, intelligent, ambitious writer and Man Gone Down is an impressive first effort. Literature—and the world—would be well served by more like him.”

    Martha Southgate, author of The Taste of Salt and The Fall of Rome

  • “The narrator of this remarkable novel can name each star in the constellation of circumstances that describe the shape of his life as if observing them from a great distance, yet with a surprisingly intimate and passionate accuracy. Its unique achievement, that is, its particular beauty, is in how it engages us, right from the start, with the unannounced arrival of revelations, with humor, and with the growing realization that the life he speaks of has much in common with our own.”

    Chuck Wachtel, author of Joe the Engineer

  • “What a novel, and what a writer. Michael Thomas is brilliant, and Man Gone Down is riveting. Every page vibrates with love and anger and hope.”

    Elizabeth Gaffney, author of Metropolis

  • “A ravishing blues for the soul’s unending loneliness.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • Winner of the 2009 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for Fiction
  • A 2007 New York Times Book Review Top 10 Book of the Year
  • One of the 2007 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Ginger | 2/19/2014

    " I really wanted to enjoy this book about an adjunct instructor-turned- construction worker whose interracial marriage is falling apart, but the mopey narrator kept making such stupid decisions that I quickly lost sympathy for him. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Chris | 2/17/2014

    " I can't believe I have finally finished this book. Thomas's narrative of African-American experience in contemporary America and the details of our culture's complex relationship with race might have been extremely powerful if the prose wasn't so indulgent. I may be overly critical because it was such a slow read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Ben | 2/10/2014

    " good read with solid character development. main character is angry and neurotic but compelling. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Marc | 1/23/2014

    " Didn't think this was very well written. Pretty jumpy. Some interesting imagery and characters, but the narrative was lacking. "

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About the Author

Michael Thomas was born and raised in Boston. He’s been a cab driver, carpenter, restaurateur, and filmmaker. He received his BA from Hunter College and his MFA from Warren Wilson College. He teaches at Hunter and lives in Brooklyn with his wife and three children.