The prolific Mosley (at least 26 novels
published since 1990, not including contributions to collections
and anthologies) is back with a new stand-alone novel about two
men brought up as brothers who are separated when very young and
only rediscover their other halves in their late teens.
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!
The majority of the critics love Fortunate Son. Publishers Weekly and Booklist both give it starred reviews; Library Journal appreciates its "impeccable plotting" while Kirkus Reviews admires the "studied artlessness of his storytelling". The Houston Chronicle is less enamored, feeling it "contains an unwieldy blend of ghosts, auras, sex, violence, murder, mayhem and love"; but the Chicago Sun-Tribune can't get enough of it, describing it as "a brilliant book, rumbling with life, scary and sacred and scented with everything that makes Los Angeles our best heaven and our best hell."
As always, you can browse a substantial excerpt for yourself at BookBrowse.
This review was originally published in May 2006, and has been updated for the August 2007 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.
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