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The Fortunes

Peter Ho Davies

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Historical fiction

By the author of the Booker longlisted THE WELSH GIRL, a vibrant, powerful and iconoclastic novel telling the little-known story of the Chinese in America, and of America through its Chinese.

Ah Ling: son of a prostitute and a white 'ghost', dispatched from Hong Kong as a boy to make his way alone in 1860s California.

Anna Mae Wong: the first Chinese film star in Hollywood, forbidden to kiss a white man on screen.

Vincent Chin: killed by a pair of Detroit auto workers in 1982 simply for looking Japanese.

John Ling Smith: a half-Chinese writer visiting China for the first time, to adopt a baby girl.

Inspired by three figures who lived at pivotal moments in Chinese-American history, and drawing on his own mixed-race experience, Peter Ho Davies plunges us into what it is like to feel, and be treated, like a foreigner in the country you call home.

Ranging from the mouth of the Pearl River to the land of golden opportunity, this remarkable novel spans 150 years to tell a tale of familial bonds denied and fragmented, of tenacity and pride, of prejudice and the universal need to belong.

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Praise for The Fortunes

  • A poignant, cascading four-part novel about being Asian and western, about immigrants and natives, about belonging in a country and one's skin . . . outstanding. - Summer Reads, Guardian

  • Davies pursues his overarching themes of identity and belonging with empathy and wit, repeatedly minting finely judged images that, in a novel not short on flair, arrest and dazzle. - Daily Mail

  • An absorbing, thrillingly serious read - Guardian

  • The non-European American immigrant experience is rich fictional territory that has been mined by some fine writers (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jhumpa Lahiri, Julie Otsuka) and Ho Davies is absolutely their equal. It is hard to imagine a novelist more alive to the layered ironies of national identity - Sunday Times

  • Panoramic in scope yet intimate in detail, THE FORTUNES might be the most honest, unflinching, cathartically biting novel I've read about Chinese American experience. It asks the big questions about identity and history that every American needs to ask in the 21st century. - Celeste Ng

  • Davies's first novel, The Welsh Girl was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and he was adjudged one of Granta's Best Young British Novelists. The Fortunes is an equally beguiling book, and should do much to strengthen Davies's reputation. - Spectator

  • The book's scope is impressive, but what's even more staggering is the utter intimacy and honesty of each character's introspection. More extraordinary still is the depth and the texture created by the juxtaposition of different eras . . . a brilliant, absorbing masterpiece. - Publishers Weekly

  • Only a writer as gifted as Peter Ho Davies could capture the full weight of a century's history with such an extraordinary lightness of touch . . . Buoyant yet profound, unsentimental yet affecting, and above all beautifully written, The Fortunes reimagines in thrilling ways what the multi-generational immigrant novel can be. - Sarah Shun-lien Bynum

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Peter Ho Davies

Peter Ho Davies is the author of the novels The Welsh Girl, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, The Fortunes, and A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself and two short story collections: The Ugliest House in the World, winner of the John Llewelyn Rhys and PEN/Macmillan prizes, and Equal Love, which was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

His writing has been widely anthologized, including selections for Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards and Best American Short Stories, and in 2003 he was chosen as one of Granta magazine's Best of Young British Novelists. He has also won the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story.

Born in Britain to Welsh and Chinese parents, Davies now lives in the US where he is a professor of Creative Writing at the University of Michigan.

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