The Fortunes (Hardcover)

By Peter Ho Davies

Houghton Mifflin, 9780544263703, 288pp.

Publication Date: September 6, 2016

September 2016 Indie Next List

“At a time of talk about building walls and isolationism, Davies offers a look at American history through the lives of a group of people who have helped to forge this nation -- Chinese-Americans. Davies presents characters for whom the American dream is as elusive or as real as it would be to any others. Set in the California Gold Rush, 1930s Hollywood, and the present day, Davies' tale is artfully told with passion and conviction, and readers will empathize fully with each generation of 'outsiders.'”
— Jessie Martin (W), Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, MI
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Description

Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards
A New York Times Notable Book

From the author of The Welsh Girl comes a groundbreaking, provocative new novel.


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 Asian Americans, 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.

Building fact into fiction, spinning fiction around fact, Davies uses each of these stories--three inspired by real historical characters--to examine the process of becoming not only Chinese American, but American.
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