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Download Native Son Audiobook

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: April 2009 ISBN: 9780060886394
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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 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 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 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 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. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Angel | 12/4/2013

    " My entire AP lit class agreed that they couldn't stand this book. From disturbing material to eternal frustration at the decisions of the main character I'm only glad I read it to say I read it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dakeria Fulks | 11/27/2013

    " When reading Richard Wright's novel, Naive Son I was captured through out the whole book. Wright uses vivid language. Whenever Bigger gets emotional Wright makes it clear to the reader by using descriptive language. Wright uses complex words to express his ideas. He makes it easy for the reader to fully understand how Bigger feels in situations because he writes Bigger's inner thoughts. The book clearly shows how whites and blacks lived in a separate world. Richard Wright does an excellent job at helping the reader to perceive how Bigger feels about his place in society. Biggerprefered to be alone. Society forced him to live the way he did. Bigger lived his life, knowing that he was at the bottom of the chain, so he blocked everyone out. Richard Wright characterizes Bigger as a sociopath that wont even talk to his own family. He has trust issues and it's clear to see that. Th only thing that frustrated me about the book is that Richard Wright took up a lot of space in his novel just by citing what Bigger's attorney was saying to the judge. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rpsie | 9/18/2013

    " Read in high school one of my favorite books! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Alison | 9/8/2013

    " It was interesting, but I wouldn't re-read it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Stephen | 9/5/2013

    " DID YOU KNOW THAT BIGGER IS A PRODUCT OF HIS ENVIRONMENT "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lauren | 1/20/2013

    " I remember being pretty traumatized by this book when I was 17. Don't really have the desire to revisit it and remember why... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Aileen | 10/18/2012

    " I don't remember this book making much of an impression on me at the time I read it first. I'd like to re-read it now. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ellen | 5/23/2012

    " A very powerful and enthralling book. Now I see why it is a classic and is loved by my husband. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ashley | 11/22/2011

    " It's been quite some time since I've read this book, but from what I can remember I liked it and I might try rereading it in the future as a refresher. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gigi=ltm2mdu1nzuxmtg6mzy3j | 9/14/2011

    " The symbolism, the divide of race, class, and thought, add to the mix the writing of Richard Wright and you have a journey. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gmh357 | 7/19/2011

    " important book, but Max's speech during trail is way too long!!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marilyn | 5/17/2011

    " Such a complex story and so true to what African American men and people in general have been feeling living in such a oppressive state. Very heartbreaking and creepy at the same time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth | 5/14/2011

    " This is an amazing book- relevant today, yet set decades ago.
    "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Krys | 4/24/2011

    " I might have liked it better if I hadn't read it in 10th grade of high school for a project. Somehow those books are impossible to enjoy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Risa | 4/24/2011

    " I should read this again, because it always bothered me that I couldn't tell why the main character acted the way he did. Though I think that was the point, and I know people are complicated, I still want to peruse it again, now that I am older than a teenager, and see if I have more insight. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bob | 4/18/2011

    " A must read for every American! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vicki | 4/7/2011

    " Opened my sheltered eyes to the ways of a world that is often unfair. This book was definitely sad, but very powerful and important. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joan | 4/5/2011

    " This should be a must-read book in a senior high school literature class. An insight into the mind and life of a inner-city kid whose opportunities are limited and nothing seems to go right. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda | 3/24/2011

    " Very surprised at how much I enjoyed this book! It went so far beyond the usual African American Literature themes (think Oprah Book Club). This came as even more of a surprise because it was first published in 1940. This was my first Wright novel, and I am now a huge fan. It won't be my last! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily | 3/21/2011

    " Be prepared to be shocked at times. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alison | 3/16/2011

    " I'm not sure how many stars to give this--four or five stars for excellence, but, honestly, I can't say I "liked" it, because it is so utterly disturbing. Probably one of the most disturbing books I've ever read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alexis | 3/11/2011

    " Required in English Class. Better then I thought it would be. My friends were very grossed out by the actions Bigger takes; however I have read gruesome books that aren't even close to the same level as this, so I wasn't a shock. Good, but probably wouldn't read it for fun. "

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