NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER - WINNER OF THE STORY PRIZE - LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE FINALIST -A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK - NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, USA TODAY, AND MIAMI HERALD - NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post NPR Marie Claire St.Read more...
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER - WINNER OF THE STORY PRIZE -LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE FINALIST -A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK -NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, USA TODAY, AND MIAMI HERALD - NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post NPR Marie Claire St. Louis Post-Dispatch BuzzFeed The Daily Beast Los Angeles Magazine The Independent BookPage Kirkus Reviews
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his acclaimed novel about North Korea, The Orphan Master s Son, Adam Johnson is one of America s most provocative and powerful authors. Critics have compared him to Kurt Vonnegut, David Mitchell, and George Saunders, but Johnson s new book will only further his reputation as one of our most original writers. Subtly surreal, darkly comic, both hilarious and heartbreaking, Fortune Smiles is a major collection of stories that gives voice to the perspectives we don t often hear, while offering something rare in fiction: a new way of looking at the world.
In six masterly stories, Johnson delves deep into love and loss, natural disasters, the influence of technology, and how the political shapes the personal. Nirvana, which won the prestigious Sunday Times short story prize, portrays a programmer whose wife has a rare disease finding solace in a digital simulacrum of the president of the United States. In Hurricanes Anonymous first included in the Best American Short Stories anthology a young man searches for the mother of his son in a Louisiana devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. George Orwell Was a Friend of Mine follows a former warden of a Stasi prison in East Germany who vehemently denies his past, even as pieces of it are delivered in packages to his door.And in the unforgettable title story, Johnson returns to his signature subject, North Korea, depicting two defectors from Pyongyang who are trying to adapt to their new lives in Seoul, while one cannot forget the woman he left behind.
Unnerving, riveting, and written with a timeless quality, these stories confirm Johnson as one of America s greatest writers and an indispensable guide to our new century.
Praise for Fortune Smiles
Masterful . . . Each story] is a miniature demonstration of why his remarkable novel The Orphan Master s Son won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The Washington Post
Johnson] is always perceptive and brave; his lines always sing and strut and sizzle and hush and wash and blaze over the reader. The New York Times Book Review
Superb . . . explosive. The Wall Street Journal
Remarkable . . .the best short story collection sinceTenth of December . . . Johnson is one of America s greatest living writers. The Huffington Post
Haunting, harrowing . . . Johnson s writing is as rich in compassion as it is in invention, and that rare combination makes Fortune Smiles worth treasuring. USA Today
Blends] exotic scenarios, morally compromised characters, high-wire action, rigorously limber prose, dense thickets of emotion, and, most critically, our current techno-moment. The Boston Globe
Johnson s boundary-pushing stories make for exhilarating reading. San Francisco Chronicle
Entrancing. O: The Oprah Magazine
From the Hardcover edition."
Book Clubs: Prize-winning stories
Winner of the 2015 National Book Award, Adam Johnson’s Fortune Smiles is a first-rate collection of short stories that explores timeless topics such as relationships, politics, sacrifice and love, treating them in ways that feel specific and fresh. In “Nirvana,” a techie finds a unique way to cope with his sick wife—by developing an app that allows users to talk to the president of the United States. The main character of “Hurricanes Anonymous” tries to locate the mother of his son in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. “George Orwell Was a Friend of Mine” tells the story of a former Stasi prison official who is trying—unsuccessfully—to escape the past. The six narratives in this wide-ranging collection are enlivened by the author’s sense of black humor and evident compassion for the human condition. Johnson, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his 2012 novel The Orphan Master’s Son, delivers a smart batch of stories that’s sure to get book groups talking.
HIGH AND DRY
In her debut novel, Gold Fame Citrus, Claire Vaye Watkins offers a chilling dystopian look at a drought-ravaged future. In barren Los Angeles, erstwhile model Luz Dunn keeps company with surfer Ray Hollis, a former soldier. They camp out in the deserted home of a movie star, ignoring orders for mandatory evacuation and surviving on plundered rations. Despite their grim prospects, the two fall in love, and when they take an abandoned child into their fold, they’re determined to create a more promising future. Taking to the road, they search for a desert commune founded by water finder and survivalist Levi Zabriskie. But the going is filled with difficulties, including looters, evacuation enforcers and the hardships imposed by the landscape itself. Watkins presents an unforgettable portrait of California as an oasis-turned-waste-land, and her prose style is marked by a haunting poeticism. A timely narrative that’s certain to resonate with readers, this is a remarkably accomplished first novel from a visionary writer.
TOP PICK FOR BOOK CLUBS
Geraldine Brooks delivers another expertly wrought historical novel with The Secret Chord, a compelling retelling of the life and times of King David of the Bible. Chronicling David’s rise, from his early days as a shepherd to his ascension to the throne of Israel, the novel brings to vivid life many Old Testament characters, including David’s wife Batsheva and son Solomon. The tale is narrated by Natan, a shepherd and prophet who predicts a dark future for the king. Brooks presents David as a man of contrasts—at once wise and impulsive, gentle and savage, humble and arrogant. She demonstrates an expert command of her historical material, presenting a full-bodied account of the legendary leader. Brooks’ many fans will find the novel a worthy companion to her previous historical narratives, which include People of the Book and the Pulitzer-Prize winning March.