Rarely has a book so impressed me with its ambition and scope, on both a large and small scale, as The Fortunes. Davies takes on the literal fiction that is “Asian America,” and then shatters this concept by precisely painting his Chinese-American characters with real and human desires, tragedies, and idiosyncrasies. Davies’s characters are historically significant, either at the fore of humongous social change or emblematic of an American era, and yet they never feel like sepia-tinted, two-dimensional photographs, due to the care and empathy with which the author has rendered them. Most importantly, as proven by how quickly I blew through the pages, this book proves that the Chinese American story is one we not only need, but also one we really, really want.
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 "Riveting and luminous...Like the best books, this one haunts the reader well after the end."--Jesmyn Ward
" A] complex, beautiful novel . . . Stunning."--NPR, Best Books of 2016
"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