MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Reading guide for Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Fortune Smiles

Stories

by Adam Johnson

Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson X
Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Aug 2015, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2016, 336 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Elena Spagnolie
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

  1. How would you describe the elements that these six stories have in common? Are there themes that recur?
  2. Discuss the importance of place in these stories, which range from Louisiana post-­Katrina to a former prison camp in East Germany to North Korea. To what extent are these stories that could only take place in these locations? To what extent are the experiences of their characters universal?
  3. In "Nirvana," why do you feel the narrator has created a holograph of the president? What purpose do his conversations with the president serve? How do you think Charlotte feels about this?
  4. Describe the father-­son relationship in "Hurricanes Anonymous," and how you understand Nonc's sense of obligation to Geronimo and Relle. Is Nonc a good father? What does this story say about the bonds of individual love versus the bonds of family? What does this story say about the diasporas that occur after natural disasters?
  5. "Dark Meadow" and "George Orwell Was a Friend of Mine" both feature narrators who have done—­or are drawn to doing—­terrible things. Talk about how your perspective on these characters changed over the course of their ­stories—at the end, were your feelings about their choices different from what they were at the beginning?
  6. In "Interesting Facts," the narrator's husband has a biography similar to the author's. What did you make of this? Does the narrator's relationship with her husband and family change over the course of the story?
  7. What is the role of humor in these stories?
  8. Many of these characters seem motivated by shame—­over their past, or their actions, or their sense of failure. Does a sense of shame motivate them to be better toward others, or does it make them more selfish?
  9. Would you describe the stories as each being distinct in prose style? Or quite similar? If so, what are the continuities?
  10. Talk about the ending of "Fortune Smiles." How do Sun-­ho's and DJ's experiences of defection differ? Does the story change your understanding of what it means to defect from a place like North Korea?


Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Random House. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Kurt Cobain

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: When We Were Vikings
    When We Were Vikings
    by Andrew David MacDonald
    In When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald, readers are first introduced to Zelda on her ...
  • Book Jacket: How to Build a Heart
    How to Build a Heart
    by Maria Padian
    Maria Padian is well-known for her motif of exploring teen reactions to social issues. Her novel ...
  • Book Jacket: Follow Me to Ground
    Follow Me to Ground
    by Sue Rainsford
    Ada and her father are human-like beings who age slowly and possess the power to heal all illness. ...
  • Book Jacket: Children of the Land
    Children of the Land
    by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo
    In this exquisitely crafted memoir, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo describes coming of age as a young ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Girl in White Gloves
    by Kerri Maher

    A fascinating and deeply researched novel of the extraordinary Grace Kelly.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Splendid and the Vile
    by Erik Larson

    A fresh and compelling portrait of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Remembrance
by Rita Woods

A breakout debut with modern resonance, perfect for fans of The Underground Railroad and Orphan Train.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The Lost Family

The Lost Family
by Libby Copeland

A deeply reported look at the rise of home genetic testing and the seismic shock it has had on individual lives.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A F I Need I A F I

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.