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The Fortunes
by Peter Ho Davies


Overview - Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award
for literature that confronts racism and examines diversity

Winner of the 2017 Chautauqua Prize

Finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize

A New York Times Notable Book
" A] complex, beautiful novel .
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More About The Fortunes by Peter Ho Davies
 
 
 
Overview
Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award
for literature that confronts racism and examines diversity

Winner of the 2017 Chautauqua Prize

Finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize

A New York Times Notable Book
" A] complex, beautiful novel . . . Stunning."--NPR, Best Books of 2016

"Davies is] a master storyteller."--Entertainment Weekly

"Intense and dreamlike . . . filled with quiet resonances across time."--The New Yorker


Sly, funny, intelligent, and artfully structured, The Fortunes recasts American history through the lives of Chinese Americans and reimagines the multigenerational novel through the fractures of immigrant family experience.

Inhabiting four lives--a railroad baron's valet who unwittingly ignites an explosion in Chinese labor; Hollywood's first Chinese movie star; a hate-crime victim whose death mobilizes the Asian American community; and a biracial writer visiting China for an adoption--this novel captures and capsizes over a century of our history, showing that even as family bonds are denied and broken, a community can survive--as much through love as blood.

"A prophetic work, with passages of surpassing beauty."--Joyce Carol Oates, Anisfield-Wolf Book Award citation

"A poignant, cascading four-part novel . . . Outstanding."--David Mitchell, Guardian

"The most honest, unflinching, cathartically biting novel I've read about the Chinese American experience."--Celeste Ng

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781328745484
  • ISBN-10: 1328745481
  • Publisher: Mariner Books
  • Publish Date: September 2017
  • Page Count: 288
  • Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.5 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Asian American

 
BookPage Reviews

Book clubs: Through the years

Peter Ho Davies’ acclaimed second novel, The Fortunes, is an interconnected quartet of stories exploring the lives of Chinese people in America. Ah Ling arrives in California from China in the mid-1800s. When he becomes valet to railroad magnate Charles Crocker, Ling inspires a surge in the hiring of Chinese workers. During the 1930s, Chinese actress Anna May Wong fights stereotypes in Hollywood and struggles to make a name for herself. In 1982 Detroit, Vincent Chin meets a tragic end, becoming an inspirational figure for the Asian-American community. The book’s fourth main character, John Ling Smith, a writer who is half Chinese, travels with his wife to modern-day China to adopt a baby—a journey that provides closure for the novel. Davies writes convincingly from these varied perspectives, delivering a beautifully wrought account of Chinese and Chinese-American culture. The novel is at once a compelling read and a timely chronicle of the immigrant experience.

OPEN HEART
In his compassionate nonfiction book Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, surgeon and celebrated author Atul Gawande explores aging, death and the ways in which Americans deal with both. Gawande weaves anecdotes from his work with dying patients and stories of his family members into a compelling study of the medical industry’s handling of end-of-life issues. Through interviews with healthcare professionals, he examines the weaknesses in the American healthcare system when it comes to providing for the aging and the terminally ill. He also notes improvements in the ways doctors communicate with patients who must make tough choices about treatments and care facilities. Gawande writes about sensitive topics in a manner that’s probing yet sympathetic. As usual, his delivery is lucid and his prose elegant. He has created a discerning, well-rounded survey of an all-too-relevant topic. This important book is a must-read, given today’s healthcare climate.

TOP PICK FOR BOOK CLUBS
Eowyn Ivey’s masterfully crafted second novel, To the Bright Edge of the World, is told largely through a pair of interwoven journals. The diary of Colonel Allen Forrester documents the 1885 expedition he leads to Alaska’s Wolverine River. The other journal is written by Allen’s wife, Sophie, who lives in Vancouver while he is gone. During their separation, each forms new ways of looking at the world. Sophie, who suffers a miscarriage, finds an outlet in photography. Allen, meanwhile, contends with the challenges of the expedition and finds a fresh—and magical—intensity in the experience of living. Both diaries make their way into contemporary times through Allen’s great-nephew Walt, who donates them to a museum, and the contrast between the past of the journals and the present day is decidedly poignant. Ivey’s assured novel brims with adventure, history and a little bit of surrealism, proving that she’s a writer to watch.

 

This article was originally published in the September 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews