Sunday Morning! The Man Who Lived Underground by Richard Wright

Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does many things. He is the author of the forthcoming book "The Paris Bureau" from Dio Press (early 2021).

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4 Responses

  1. It’s a pretty amazing book. The initial section, where Fred is basically kidnapped by police and forced to sign a confession is relentless in its brutality, physical and emotional. He is literally nothing to them but a means to clearing the case. And that breaks both Fred, enough to have his semi-mystical experiences underground, and the reader, to find all the bizarre happenings a relief.Report

    • It’s really well organized in that it’s basically three acts and the first one is so propulsive that you need a break afterwards, and then the middle section is propulsive in a different sort of way, and an unexpected way- it’s still a biting critique, but it’s so much weirder. I liked that. I don’t think I could have gotten through 160 pages of a crime procedural with racist cops.

      I will say my one complaint is the wife is *so much* a plot device and gets pretty much abandoned by the narrative once he’s in the sewer. I wish she’d have had more of a role, or there had been another plot device.Report

  2. Doctor Jay says:

    I can sign on to Baldwin’s criticism of Native Son, and honestly that experience (long ago) kind of put me off Wright. Perhaps I should take this up, the intervening years have changed how I read things.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      I was suprised by it because the press I’d read made it sound like it was a prescient novel on police brutality and then, reading it, the story goes off in this different direction 50 pages in and the police barely matter.Report