Summary and book reviews of Fortunate Son by Walter Mosley

Fortunate Son

By Walter Mosley

Fortunate Son
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Apr 2006,
    320 pages.
    Paperback: Aug 2007,
    336 pages.

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Book Summary

New York Times bestselling author Walter Mosley’s novel about two boys, one ensconced in a life of privilege and the other in a life of hardship, explores the true meaning of fortune.

In spite of remarkable differences, Eric and Tommy are as close as brothers. Eric, a Nordic Adonis, is graced by a seemingly endless supply of good fortune. Tommy is a lame black boy, cursed with health problems, yet he remains optimistic and strong.

After tragedy rips their makeshift family apart, the lives of these boys diverge astonishingly: Eric, the golden youth, is given everything but trusts nothing; Tommy, motherless and impoverished, has nothing, but feels lucky every day of his life. In a riveting story of modern-day resilience and redemption, the two confront separate challenges, and when circumstances reunite them years later, they draw on their extraordinary natures to confront a common enemy and, ultimately, save their lives.

THOMAS BEERMAN was born with a hole in his lung. Because of this birth defect, he spent the first six months of his life in the intensive care unit at Helmutt-Briggs, a hospital in West Los Angeles. The doctors told his mother, Branwyn, that most likely he would not survive.

"Newborns with this kind of disorder, removed from the physical love of their mothers, often wither," kind-eyed Dr. Mason Settler told her.

So she came to the hospital every day after work and watched over her son from six to eleven. She couldn’t touch him because he was kept in a glass-enclosed, germ-free environment. But they stared into each other’s eyes for hours every day.

Branwyn would read to the little boy and talk to him through the night after her shift at Ethel’s Florist Shop.

“I know you must wonder why it’s always me here and never your father," Branwyn said to her son one Thursday evening. “Elton has a lot...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

The tale is enjoyable but predictable to the point that it is best to read it as a sort of parable; but if that's the case, what exactly is the moral lesson Mosley wishes to impart? Is it that nurture is more important that nature, or perhaps that those who have life handed to them on a plate appreciate it less than those who have to fight for it? Or is it about prejudice and racism? Perhaps it's about all of that and much else. Then again, maybe Mosley just set out to write a story of two brothers and this is how it turned out!   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

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Media Reviews
The New York Times - Janet Maslin

By the time he ends the book, Mr. Mosley has compromised its allegorical bluntness by seeking a transcendence that eludes him. And the three-dimensional world is no closer than it was at the start.

Houston Chronicle

A coming-of-age story, Fortunate Son contains an unwieldy blend of ghosts, auras, sex, violence, murder, mayhem and love.

Chicago Sun-Times

It is a brilliant book, rumbling with life, scary and sacred and scented with everything that makes Los Angeles our best heaven and our best hell, a perfect backdrop for Eric's and Tommy's dream story.

Publishers Weekly

Starred review. Mosley shows how a certain kind of inarticulate, carnal, involuntary affection transcends just about anything.

Booklist - Allison Block

Starred review. Mosley weaves the themes of race, destiny, and redemption into an astonishing tale of unlikely siblings and unconditional love.

Library Journal

The writing is crisp and the plotting impeccable. Enthusiastically recommended.

Kirkus Reviews

Mosley makes his simple tale gripping through the studied artlessness of his storytelling.

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Beyond the Book

Walter Mosley's books have been translated into at least twenty-one languages. His popular mysteries featuring Easy Rawlins and his friend Raymond "Mouse" Alexander began with Devil in a Blue Dress. It was published by W.W. Norton in 1990, and was nominated for an Edgar. There are now 10 books in the Easy Rawlins series, most recently Cinnamon Kiss (2005). Mosley has also written two books about Socrates Fortlow and another two about Fearless Jones, and at least eight stand-alone novels written in a variety of genres and prose styles.

With the City ...

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