Wright presents a compelling story of a black man's attempt to escape his past and start anew in Harlem. Cross Damon is a man at odds with society and with himself, a man who hungers for peace but who brings terror and destruction wherever he goes.
As Maryemma Graham writes in her Introduction to this edition, with its restored text established by the Library of America, The Outsider is Richard Wright's second installment in a story of epic proportions, a complex master narrative designed to show American racism in raw and ugly terms ... The stories of Bigger Thomas ... and Cross Damon bear an uncanny resemblance to many contemporary cases of street crime and violence. There is also a prophetic note in Wright's construction of the criminal mind as intelligent, introspective, and transformative.
In addition to the Introduction by Maryemma Graham, this edition includes a notes section by Arnold Rampersad.