Man Who Lived Underground
by Wright, Richard; Wright, Malcolm (AFT)






"Fred Daniels, a black man, is picked up randomly by the police after a brutal murder in a Chicago neighborhood and taken to the local precinct where he is tortured until he confesses to a crime he didn't commit. After signing a confession, he escapes from the precinct and takes up residence in the sewers below the streets of Chicago"-Provided by publisher.





Richard Wright (1908-1960) is one of the most influential African American writers of the last century. His major works include the story collection Uncle Tom's Children, the novel Native Son, and the autobiography Black Boy/American Hunger.





*Starred Review* It's a fine summer evening; Fred Daniels has just gotten paid; and he's happily heading home to his pregnant wife. But Fred is Black, the cops in the squad car are white; they take him to the station and torture him into confessing to a double murder he knows nothing about. Fred manages to escape down a manhole into the sewer system, where he embarks on a feverish underworld quest, experiencing a wave of epiphanies as he burrows into a Black church, a movie theater, a jewelry shop, an insurance office, and an undertaker, each granting him startling new perceptions of the shackles of racism. Alone in the dark fending for himself, Fred revels in his strange freedom and "high pitch of consciousness," feeling that he is an "invisible man." Wright wrote this mythic, crescendo odyssey, this molten tragedy of tyranny and the destruction of a life, at the start of WWII, 10 years before Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man appeared. But despite the resounding success of Native Son, Wright's publisher rejected this lacerating tale. Now, finally, this devastating inquiry into oppression and delusion, this timeless tour de force, emerges in full, the work Wright was most passionate about, as he explains in the profoundly illuminating essay, "Memories of My Grandmother," also published here for the first time. This blazing literary meteor should land in every collection. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.





*Starred Review* It's a fine summer evening; Fred Daniels has just gotten paid; and he's happily heading home to his pregnant wife. But Fred is Black, the cops in the squad car are white; they take him to the station and torture him into confessing to a double murder he knows nothing about. Fred manages to escape down a manhole into the sewer system, where he embarks on a feverish underworld quest, experiencing a wave of epiphanies as he burrows into a Black church, a movie theater, a jewelry shop, an insurance office, and an undertaker, each granting him startling new perceptions of the shackles of racism. Alone in the dark fending for himself, Fred revels in his strange freedom and "high pitch of consciousness," feeling that he is an "invisible man." Wright wrote this mythic, crescendo odyssey, this molten tragedy of tyranny and the destruction of a life, at the start of WWII, 10 years before Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man appeared. But despite the resounding success of Native Son, Wright's publisher rejected this lacerating tale. Now, finally, this devastating inquiry into oppression and delusion, this timeless tour de force, emerges in full, the work Wright was most passionate about, as he explains in the profoundly illuminating essay, "Memories of My Grandmother," also published here for the first time. This blazing literary meteor should land in every collection. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.





A falsely accused Black man goes into hiding in this masterful novella by Wright (1908-1960), finally published in full. Written in 1941 and '42, between Wright‚??s classics Native Son¬ and Black Boy, this short novel concerns Fred Daniels, a modest laborer who‚??s arrested by police officers and bullied into signing a false confession that he killed the residents of a house near where he was working. In a brief unsupervised moment, he escapes through a manhole and goes into hiding in a sewer. A series of allegorical, surrealistic set pieces ensues as Fred explores the nether reaches of a church, a real estate firm, and a jewelry store. Each stop is an opportunity for Wright to explore themes of hope, greed, and exploitation; the real estate firm, Wright notes, "collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent from poor colored folks." But Fred‚??s deepening existential crisis and growing distance from society keep the scenes from feeling like potted commentaries. As he wallpapers his underground warren with cash, mocking and invalidating the currency, he registers a surrealistic but engrossing protest against divisive social norms. The novel, rejected by Wright‚??s publisher, has only appeared as a substantially truncated short story until now, without the opening setup and with a different ending. Wright's take on racial injustice seems to have unsettled his publisher: A note reveals that an editor found reading about Fred‚??s treatment by the police "unbearable." That may explain why Wright, in an essay included here, says its focus on race is "rather muted," emphasizing broader existential themes. Regardless, as an afterword by Wright‚??s grandson Malcolm attests, the story now serves as an allegory both of Wright (he moved to France, an "exile beyond the reach of Jim Crow and American bigotry") and American life. Today, it resonates deeply as a story about race and the struggle to envision a different, better world. A welcome literary resurrection that deserves a place alongside Wright‚??s best-known work. Copyright Kirkus 2021 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.





The door of the police car swung open quickly and the man behind the steering wheel stepped out; immediately, as though following in a prearranged signal, the other two policemen stepped out and the three of them advanced and confronted him. They patted his clothing from his head to his feet.
&;What&;s your name?&; asked the policeman who had been called Lawson.
&;Fred Daniels, sir.&;
&;Ever been in trouble before, boy?&; Lawson said.
&;No, sir.&;
&;Where you think you&;re going now?&;
&;I&;m going home.&;
&;Where you live?&;
&;On East Canal, sir.&;
&;Who you live with?&;
&;My wife.&; 
Lawson turned to the policeman who stood at his right. &;We&;d better drag &;im in, Johnson.&;
&;But, Mister!&; he protested in a high whine. &;I ain&;t done nothing . . .&;
&;All right, now,&; Lawson said. &;Don&;t get excited.&;
&;My wife&;s having a baby . . .&;
&;They all say that. Come on,&; said the red-headed man who had been called Johnson.
A spasm or outrage surged in him and he snatched backward, hurling himself away from them. Their fingers tightened about his wrists, biting into his flesh; they pushed him toward the car.
&;Want to get tough, hunh?&;
&;No, sir,&; he said quickly.
&;Then get in the car, Goddammit!&;
He stepped into the car and they shoved him into the seat; two of the policemen sat at either side of him and hooked their arms in his. Lawson got behind the steering wheel. But, strangely, the car did not start. He waited, alert but ready to obey.
&;Well, boy,&; Lawson began in a slow, almost friendly tone, &;looks like you&;re in for it, hunh?&;
Lawson&;s enigmatical voice made hope rise in him.
&;Mister, I ain&;t done nothing,&; he said. &;You can ask Mrs. Wooten&; back there. She just paid me off and I was on my way home . . .&; His words sounded futile and he tried another approach. &;Look, Mister, I&;m a member of the White Rock Baptist Church. If you don&;t believe me, call up Reverend Davis . . .&;
&;Got it all figured out, ain&;t you, boy?&;
&;No, sir,&; he said, shaking his head emphatically. &;I&;m telling the truth . . . &;
A series of questions made him hopeful again.
&;What&;s your wife&;s name?&;
&;Rachel, sir.&;
&;When is this baby going to be born?&;
&;Any minute now, sir.&;
&;Who&;s with your wife?&;
&;My cousin, Ruby.&;
&;Uh huh,&; Lawson said, with slow thoughtfulness.
&;I think he&;ll do, Lawson,&; said the tall, raw-boned policeman who had not spoken before. 
Lawson laughed and started the motor. 
            
            
 
            






Terms of Use   ©Copyright 2021 Follett School Solutions