The Fortunes (Paperback)
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
“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
About the Author
PETER HO DAVIES’s novel, The Fortunes, won the Anisfield-Wolf Award and the Chautauqua Prize and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. He is also the author of The Welsh Girl, long-listed for the Man Booker Prize and a London Times best-seller, as well as two critically acclaimed collections of short stories. His fiction has appeared in Harpers, the Atlantic, the Paris Review, and Granta and has been anthologized in Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards and The Best American Short Stories.
Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards Winner of the 2017 Chautauqua Prize Finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize A New York Times Notable Book A New York Times Editors' Choice Longlisted for The Story Prize One of NPR's "Best Books of 2016" A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2016 One of BookRiot's "100 Must-Read Books of U.S. Historical Fiction" Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature—Honor Selection An Indie Next Pick (September 2016) "Davies, a master storyteller, blends fact with fiction in this saga of immigration, acclimation, and Chinese culture, which he tells through the experiences of Chinese-Americans at different points in history."—Entertainment Weekly, "12 must-read novels out this fall" “Davies writes with a rare emotional resonance and a deft sense of structure; it's hard not to be in awe of the way he's composed this complex, beautiful novel. The Fortunes is a stunning look at what it means to be Chinese, what it means to be American, and what it means to be a person navigating the strands of identity, the things that made us who we are, whoever that is.”—NPR "[A] rewarding, unorthodox novel."—Wall Street Journal “Intense and dreamlike . . . filled with quiet resonances across time . . . The Fortunes is powerful as a chronicle of perpetual frustration, as each new generation grows aware of the arbitrary line between margin and mainstream . . . What makes The Fortunes so hopeful, the type of novel that could have only been written now, is its willingness to take liberties with that past—to rearrange its details and indulge in speculation, in order to help us imagine a different way forward.”—The New Yorker "In naming the given scripts of culture, as well as pushing against them, Davies’ characters struggle to belong — not only to race or to history or to stories, but also simply to themselves. And Davies, ever deft, points us into the messy complexity of identity with compassion and nuance, urging us each on toward spaces where we honor and move more freely within what he calls our 'uncertain and contradictory' selves." -- San Francisco Chronicle "I was very thankful for Peter Ho Davies’ panoramic novel The Fortunes, a moving, often funny, and deeply provocative novel about the lives of four very different Chinese Americans as they encounter the myriad opportunities and clear limits of American life. An essential tale gorgeously told."—Chang-rae Lee, Buzzfeed, "22 Famous Writers Told Us About The Book They're Most Thankful For" “A prophetic work, with passages of surpassing beauty...The Fortunes is a boldly imagined work of fiction in which historic figures come to an astonishingly vivid, visceral life through the power of Peter Ho Davies’s prose.”—Joyce Carol Oates, Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards citation "The Fortunes masterfully captures a century of history and the survival of an immigrant community caught between two cultures."—Buzzfeed, "21 Incredible New Books You Need To Read This Fall" "Davies distills 150 years of Chinese-American history in his timely and eloquent new novel. In Gold, the first of its four sections, Ah Ling, 14, the son of a Hong Kong prostitute, seeks his fortune in California. He works as valet to Charles Crocker, who hires thousands of Chin —