Man Gone Down: A NovelBy Michael Thomas
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- Author: Michael Thomas
- Binding: Paperback
- Publisher: Grove Press, Black Cat
- Published: 2007-01-01
- Edition: F First Edition
beautifully written, insightful, and devastating first novel, Man Gone Down is about a young black father of three in a biracial marriage trying to claim a piece of the American Dream he has bargained on since youth. On the eve of the unnamed narrator's thirty-fifth birthday, he finds himself broke, estranged from his white Boston Brahmin wife and three children, and living in the bedroom of a friend's six-year-old child. He has four days to come up with the money to keep his family afloat, four days to try to make some sense of his life. He's been getting by working construction jobs though he's known on the streets as "the professor," as he was expected to make something out of his life. Alternating between his past--as a child in inner-city Boston, he was bussed to the suburbs as part of the doomed attempts at integration in the 1970s--and the preset in New York City where he is trying mightily to keep his children in private schools, we learn of his mother's abuses, his father's abandonment, raging alcoholism, and the best and worst intentions of a supposedly integrated America. This is an extraordinary debut. It is a story of the American Dream gone awry, about what it's like to feel preprogrammed to fail in life--and the urge to escape that sentence. Michael Thomas's writing recalls some of the great American masters, including Ralph Ellison, but his debut is wholly and distinctly an original. Man Gone Down is a dazzling addition to the literature of and about America today.