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Extended Audio Sample Native Son, by Richard Wright Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (35,749 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Richard Wright Narrator: Peter Francis James Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic.

Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Wright’s powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country—and of what it means to be black in America. Widely acclaimed as one of the finest books ever written on race and class divisions in America, this powerful novel mirrors the forces of poverty, injustice, and hopelessness that continue to shape our society.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Certainly, Native Son declares Richard Wright’s importance ...as an American author as distinctive as any of those now writing.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A more compelling story than Native Son has not been written in the twentieth century by an American writer…Wright’s genius was that, in preventing us from feeling pity for Bigger, he forced us to confront the hopelessness, misery, and injustice of the society that gave birth to him.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “Wright's classic 1940 novel about a young African-American man who murders a white woman in 1930s Chicago is a truly remarkable literary accomplishment. Peter Francis James has never been better, bringing the character of Bigger Thomas to life in a profound and moving performance that is as touching as it is truthful.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “After fifty-eight years in print, Wright’s Native Son has acquired classic status…Peter Francis James’s narration is thoughtful and polished.”

    Library Journal

  • One of Time Magazine's Best 100 English-Language Novels from 1923–2005

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Amber | 2/20/2014

    " A great character, tragic story and excellent writing. I was thinking it would be a great book to discuss in a book club, but I think it might be more suited to an academic discussion/treatment. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Kimberly Andrea Brock | 2/3/2014

    " This book pulled at my critical thinking abilities to reflect how far America has come in regard to racial opression of people of color. The distinct pain I feel towards this book is that Bigger was a product of Fate. Bigger is the result of systematic oppression. And Native Son is an aggress in-your-face conversation with that oppression. Richard Wright got my attention some 70 years later. He is genuis writer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Richsf1980 | 2/2/2014

    " This is one of my favorite books. I had to read it in high school and it was so engaging. Bigger is the first protagonist that I got really angry at. I never understood the decisions he made because, to me, they were so obviously so wrong. I couldn't put it down when I was reading it. I'll have to read this book again to dive back into the deeper meaning of the novel. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Joanie | 1/15/2014

    " Sometimes I try to catch up on all of those classic novels that I somehow didn't read in school. That's what brought me to Native Son. I understand why many people read this in school, and I understand the important statement it makes, but personally I found it so bleak, depressing and stressful that I couldn't wait for it to be over. "

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