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Literati is thrilled to host novelists Peter Ho Davies and Derek Palacio to celebrate the paperback release of The Fortunes and The Mortifications
About The Fortunes:
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.
About The Mortifications:
In 1980, a rural Cuban family is torn apart during the Mariel boatlift. Uxbal Encarnación—father, husband, political insurgent—refuses to leave behind the revolutionary ideals and lush tomato farms of his sun-soaked homeland. His wife, Soledad, takes young Isabel and Ulises hostage and flees with them to America, leaving behind Uxbal for the promise of a better life. But instead of settling with fellow Cuban immigrants in Miami’s familiar heat, Soledad pushes farther north into the stark, wintry landscape of Hartford, Connecticut. There, in the long shadow of their estranged patriarch, now just a distant memory, the Encarnacións begin a process of growth and transformation.
In their own way, each one both struggles and flourishes. Isabel, spiritually hungry and desperate for higher purpose, finds herself connected to the dying in uncanny ways. Ulises is bookish and awkwardly tall, like his father, whose memory haunts and shapes his thoughts. Presiding over them both is Soledad. Once consumed by her love for her husband, she begins a tempestuous new relationship with a Dutch tobacco farmer. But just as the Encarnacións begin to cultivate their strange new ways of life, Cuba calls them back. Uxbal is alive, and waiting.
Peter Ho Davies is on the faculty of the graduate program in creative writing at the University of Michigan. His debut collection, The Ugliest House in the World, won the John Llewellyn Rhys and PEN/Macmillan awards in Britain. His second collection, Equal Love, was hailed by the New York Times Book Review for its "stories as deep and clear as myth." It was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and a New York Times Notable Book. In 2003 Davies was named among the "Best of Young British Novelists" by Granta. The Welsh Girl was his first novel and his second, The Fortunes, was published in September 2016. The son of a Welsh father and Chinese mother, Davies was raised in England and spent his summers in Wales.
Derek Palacio received his MFA in creative writing from The Ohio State University. His short story “Sugarcane” appeared in The O. Henry Prize Stories 2013, and his novella, How to Shake the Other Man, was published by Nouvella Books. He lives and teaches in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is the codirector, with Claire Vaye Watkins, of the Mojave School, and serves as a faculty member of the Institute of American Indian Arts MFA program.