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The Fortunes

by Peter Ho Davies

The Fortunes by Peter Ho Davies X
The Fortunes by Peter Ho Davies
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2016, 288 pages

    Sep 2017, 288 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster
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Power Reviewer
Cathryn Conroy

A Work of Literary Genius
Plain and simple: This is a work of literary genius.

But this is what it is not:
• It is not an easy read. Don't even think of taking it to the beach.
• Even though it is billed as a "multigenerational novel," it is not. It is four novellas about four people spanning 100 years who are not related to each other--except that they are all Chinese-Americans.

The writing style and structure of each novella is unique. The stories are so unrelated to each other that they could be read separately, which is why I have called them novellas. But the element that connects the four is the symbolism of the elephant. (English majors, this is for you! Non-English majors--just Google it.)

Author Peter Ho Davies very creatively and seductively explores the extremely different lives of four people--three of whom were real, although he has reimagined their lives. (I call that daring for a novelist!) As disparate as these three men and one woman are in time, place and prosperity, their stories show the hatred of racism, the importance of identity in the larger society, the power of ambition, the frailty of life without love--and above all the place of family in our lives.

English major that I was, I was riveted. It made me think. It made me weep. It made me laugh. And it made me want to read a lot more about China.
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Beyond the Book:
  Adoption From China

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