David's Reviews > Man Gone Down

Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas
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's review
Jul 10, 15

bookshelves: literature
Read in August, 2007

There are maybe ten novels whose first reading gave me enough of a kick in the gut that I will always remember it, and this is one of them. I felt more affinity for the narrator than for any character I can recall in recent literature -- despite the fact that he is black and of the city and I'm a white kid from the sticks and the novel is very much about race; but it's more fundamentally a novel about being a husband and father and, well, a man, with all the baggage that carries, and feeling contrarily that you have little or no control over what is happening to you. I cared about this guy in a way that I rarely am made to care about fictional characters. Maybe Thomas is brilliant, or maybe I happened to read this novel at just the right time in my life. Some of both, I expect. His style suits me, in any case: elegantly written without being precious; a thoughtful narrator who is not at all removed from his reality; an optimism that is a deliberate (and difficult) choice rather than a natural inclination.

One of these days I need to go back and read it again and remind myself of exactly why I loved it so much.

Incidentally, I read a review of this book in the New York Times and discovered that the first 30 pages or so were available online, as a teaser. Thomas had me after page one. I bought it immediately. If a portion hadn't been online, I may or may not have gotten around to reading it -- there are a lot of books out there. I don't understand why this isn't standard practice in the publishing indusstry -- what's to lose? -- but then there are a lot of things I don't understand about the publishing industry.
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Sharon I felt the same and I'm a woman. I think Thomas is brilliant and can't wait for another of his works. Hope he has one in him!

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