A Father’s Law by Richard Wright

Did you know that Richard Wright has a new book out? Well, thanks to the New York Times, I just found out today, but the book was actually released in January. It is noted that the book was unfinished at the time of Wright’s death. I don’t know how I feel about that. Now, I’m no Richard Wright, but I can only imagine somebody taking an unfinished work of mine and publishing it. That means that no personal changes were made, no editing was done, and most importantly–it ain’t finished!

The Harper Collins website mentions:

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.

Yeah, yeah, but what is the book really about? What about a full summary? Library Journal says:

Ruddy Turner is a black policeman who has just become the chief of police in an upscale Chicago suburb where there has been a string of murders. Turner is a conservative Catholic, with a devoted wife and a college-age son, Tommy, who seems disturbed and obsessed with the idea of crime. This is a psychological crime novel in which the police chief begins, with horror, to look upon his son as a possible murderer, but we never do find out if Tommy is really guilty or what happens next. While this unfinished novel adds to Wright’s body of work, it will be more useful to school and college libraries for its literary merits than to the general mystery collections at most public libraries.

Now this is the bulljang I’m talking about. Why would you want to read an unfinished mystery novel? You don’t even get to find out if Tommy is guilty! What is this? Choose Your Own Adventure? Couldn’t Julia Wright have found a ghost writer to finish off the book? Why wouldn’t she? I mean, I understand it would be difficult to find a ghost writer for the Richard Wright, but seriously . . . (Read the NYT’s review)

Okay, I’m over that.

I was looking at the Today Show website and saw a link about “Famous chefs shar[ing] their last meals.” So, for some reason I thought about G. Garvin and clicked the link wondering what he would cook up. But of course they didn’t include any black chefs. Of course not. Instead I read some bull about Eric Ripert (pardon my ignorance–but whoever that is!):

The French chef would choose “A simple dish, a slice of toasted country bread, some olive oil, shaved black truffle, rock salt and black pepper.” He would prepare the meal himself, dine under a “very big oak tree or banyan tree” and sip red bordeaux.

Come on dude! Is that really your last meal? He can make it sound all fancy if he wants to, but who wants thier last meal to be oiled bread with a slice of mushroom? Come on man! Isn’t that what he’s really saying though? Then to want to eat that bread under a tree is just taking it a bit far.

Sometime ago, my little sister and I discussed the website Dead Man Eating . . . Last Meals on Death Row. I’m telling you, the details on this website are so interesting that they’ve inspired at least two short stories of mine–and I’m not that morbid. For example, did you know that Stan “Tookie” Williams ate oatmeal and milk all day before his execution?

Personally, I would eat a little bit of everything for my last meal. I would be so sick by the time it was my time that it just wouldn’t even matter any more. I’m asking for fried chicken, buffalo wings (hot w/ blue cheese), a medium well ribeye, a fully loaded baked potato, shrimp (butter and garlic), Hibachi chicken fried rice, California rolls, sweet tea, Coke, chocolate cake and ice cream, McDonald’s french fries, a Skor candy bar, Lindt chocolate, a fully loaded bacon cheeseburger . . . I could go on, but you get the point.

And just because I’m curious, I’m going to send G. Garvin an email to ask him what his last meal would be for real. Maybe I’ll get lucky.

Happy reading, ya’ll.


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