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.
Posthumously released novels are published with great fanfare, but rarely live up to the hype or readers' expectations. On the surface, they seem to be packaged events for literary and cultural historians to dissect, rather than works of literature to be enjoyed. Happily, Richard Wright's A Father's Law, which is being published for the first time on the centennial of his birth, is not just a book for critical theorists, nor is it a book that disappoints. Like Native Son, Black Boy and Uncle Tom's Children, A Father's Law explores the inner conflicts and challenges faced by black Americans as they make their way through a society dominated by white privilege. It is by no means a perfect novel, and it has gaps in its narrative like other unfinished works. But what the book lacks in polish and gloss, it makes up for in the strength and pull of its story, which is surprisingly contemporary for one written close to half a century ago.