• The Man Who Lived Underground

  • By: Richard Wright
  • Narrated by: Ethan Herisse
  • Length: 6 hrs and 45 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (224 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller

One of the best books of 2021 by Time magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe and Esquire, and one of Oprah’s 15 favorite books of the year

Audiobook narrated by Ethan Herisse

The Man Who Lived Underground reminds us that any ‘greatest writers of the 20th century’ list that doesn’t start and end with Richard Wright is laughable. It might very well be Wright’s most brilliantly crafted, and ominously foretelling, book.” (Kiese Laymon)

A major literary event: an explosive, previously unpublished novel about race and violence in America by the legendary author of Native Son and Black Boy

Fred Daniels, a Black man, is picked up by the police after a brutal double murder and tortured until he confesses to a crime he did not commit. After signing a confession, he escapes from custody and flees into the city’s sewer system.

This is the devastating premise of this scorching novel, a never-before-seen masterpiece by Richard Wright. Written between his landmark books Native Son (1940) and Black Boy (1945), at the height of his creative powers, it would see publication in Wright's lifetime only in drastically condensed and truncated form, and ultimately be included in the posthumous short story collection Eight Men

Now, for the first time, by special arrangement with the author’s estate, the full text of the work that meant more to Wright than any other (“I have never written anything in my life that stemmed more from sheer inspiration”) is published in the form that he intended, complete with his companion essay, “Memories of My Grandmother”. Malcolm Wright, the author’s grandson, contributes an afterword.

©2020 Richard Wright (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Man Who Lived Underground

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

If you enjoy the author Richard Wright...

This is an excellent book by Richard Wright. The story is unique but all too familiar when we discuss policing problems. Interesting discussions on faith. Although the protagonist seems to abandon his faith, never give up your faith in the Savior Jesus Christ. Wright’s discussion on surrealism is informative and educational.

28 people found this helpful

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Profound important and a very good read

The Man Who Lived Underground is one of the most important books of my lifetime...perhaps it will strike you that way also.

24 people found this helpful

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interesting piece

a little difficult to get into at first but I enjoyed it overall. the reader was adequate but not very engaging and a little on the dull side. I mean Richard Wright is a bit of a downer already so I would think the reader should breath a little more life into the character somehow. I could be reaching though as he did do a decent job with the voices.

19 people found this helpful

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Must read

Richard wright at one point was considered the Premier black author of the United States. This new found unabridged manuscript is coupled with memories of his grandmother and also a very insightful after word by Malcolm wright. the writing is authentic and continues to be amazingly relevant 80 years later

17 people found this helpful

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I love it when I can see and feel the emotions.

I enjoyed this book, and it was performed very well. The summary was chock-full of information regarding how Richard Wright thought and came to write this particular story. I will listen to more of his books.

15 people found this helpful

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wonderful book

My first book by the author. Will definitely read it again. Enjoyable after almost 80 years.

14 people found this helpful

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Did not enjoy at all.

Struggled to finish this book. With all the good reviews, I was shocked at how bad it was. Don't bother.

2 people found this helpful

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Not a easy book to listen to.

If you want to be depressed, this book is for you. I would not recommend it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • KC
  • 02-18-22

Just wasn't for me

I love Richard Wright's work, so I was eager to read this one. For me personally, I didn't connect as well and deeply as I have with some of his other titles. I had a heard time fully grasping the revolution that the protagonist came to and I found both the opening and ending quite disturbing. this one just wasn't for me.

1 person found this helpful

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One my top ten Novels

The novel is a powerful piece of literature I would recommend for all to read. The author's table of content, "Memories of My Grandmother," and the "Afterword by Malcolm Wright," emphasizes the surreal essence of the historical relevance and its application within our current society.

I'm impressed and marvel at Malcolm Wright's ability to express his creative knowledge along with his process to write from his deepest personal feelings.

I would recommend this novel be read and shared with book clubs as the discussions will become pivotal for each individual's humanity to discover and understand the essential human elements of evil, faith, and trust.

This novel is in my top-ten, of the past forty years.