Synopses & Reviews
Never before published, the final work of one of America's greatest writers. A Father's Law
is the novel Richard Wright, acclaimed author of Black Boy
and Native Son
, never completed.
Written during a six-week period near the end of his life, it appears in print for the first time, an important addition to this American master's body of work, submitted by his daughter and literary executor, Julia, who writes:
It comes from his guts and ends at the hero's "breaking point." It explores many themes favored by my father like guilt and innocence, the difficult relationship between the generations, the difficulty of being a black policeman and father, the difficulty of being both those things and suspecting that your own son is the murderer. It intertwines astonishingly modern themes for a novel written in 1960.
Prescient, raw, powerful, and fascinating, A Father's Law is the final gift from a literary giant.
"The centennial of Richard Wright's birth occasions the publication of this still-unfinished crime novel, which Wright was working on when he died in 1960. Ruddy Turner, a black Chicago police officer, is appointed the police chief of a rich Chicago suburb, Brentwood Park, when the current police chief is murdered. As Ruddy settles into his office, a woman is found dead in the Brentwood Park woods, possibly the sixth victim of what we would now call a serial killer. Ruddy's son, Tommy a brilliant but high-strung sociology student at the University of Chicago who makes Ruddy uneasy because of his difficult temperament knew one of the murder victims well and has been 'studying' Brentwood Park. In an atmosphere of mounting hysteria in town, Ruddy's unconscious cop mind begins to connect Tommy to the murders. Is it due to some Freudian rivalry between the father and the son, or to the facts of the case? The plot elements and dialogue in this draft are crude, and it's hard to say how the book would have been shaped out of its state of flux. A short introduction from Wright's daughter, Julia, speculates provocatively and notes how Wright brings race, class and family dynamics to bear on Ruddy's actions and thoughts, which he does brilliantly." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Wright tells an intense, provocative, and vital crime story that excavates paradoxical dimensions of race, class, sexism, family bonds, and social obligation while seeking the deepest meaning of the law." Booklist
About the Author
Richard Wright won international renown for his powerful and visceral depiction of the black experience. He stands today alongside such African-American luminaries as Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison, and two of his books, Native Son and Black Boy, are required reading in high schools and colleges across the nation. He died in 1960.