Summary and book reviews of A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley

A Lucky Man

Stories

by Jamel Brinkley

A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley X
A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    May 2018, 264 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Jamel Brinkley's stories reflect the tenderness and vulnerability of black men and boys whose hopes sometimes betray them, especially in a world shaped by race, gender, and class - where luck may be the greatest fiction of all.

In the nine expansive, searching stories of A Lucky Man, fathers and sons attempt to salvage relationships with friends and family members and confront mistakes made in the past.

An imaginative young boy from the Bronx goes swimming with his group from day camp at a backyard pool in the suburbs, and faces the effects of power and privilege in ways he can barely grasp. A teen intent on proving himself a man through the all-night revel of J'Ouvert can't help but look out for his impressionable younger brother. A pair of college boys on the prowl follow two girls home from a party and have to own the uncomfortable truth of their desires. And at a capoeira conference, two brothers grapple with how to tell the story of their family, caught in the dance of their painful, fractured history.

I HAPPY AM

When Freddy became a robot, a special map appeared in his mind. It alerted him to obstacles and told him the fastest way from here to there. One morning, instead of waiting for the elevator, he flew down the dozen flights of stairs, careful to leap over a big puddle of urine on the landing of the fourth floor. Outside, he ducked through the hole in the busted playground's fence. In the alley behind the liquor store, a homeless woman with a shopping cart shuffled into his path. He closed his eyes and clenched his metal fists as he crashed into her. The woman's stink exploded like a bomb, but it couldn't harm him. As he sped past, she yelled a lot of bad words, an enemy wailing in defeat. St. Rita's Day Camp was only a few blocks away, but by the time he arrived it was already past nine o'clock.

The other kids in his group had boarded the van. Sister Pamela stood in front of the day camp, her back pressed against the gate of the squat building. Her ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • 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 $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The essence of A Lucky Man can perhaps be best summed up by Brinkley's approach to the craft of writing, in an interview he gave to The San Francisco Chronicle: "I finally got to the point where I'm taking...writing seriously, so what's the rush now? What's the point of bulldozing my way?" That measured attitude leads to less histrionics but more pathos, as his mostly black, male characters grapple with the complexities of navigating everyday life in the United States where the chips are mostly stacked against them.   (Reviewed by Poornima Apte).

Full Review Members Only (576 words).

Media Reviews

Nylon
Spectacular. ... Quite simply stunning. ... [Jamel Brinkley] shines a light on difficult truths.

The Root
An unmissable debut short story collection, Jamel Brinkley's poignant A Lucky Man is revelatory in its crafting of prose and language. A wonderful read.

Library Journal
Fully developed stories that readers will savor.

Publishers Weekly
The nine stories in Brinkley's promising debut address persistent issues of race, class, and masculinity across three decades of New York City's history, from Manhattan's corporatization in the mid-'90s to the outer boroughs' gentrification today.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. A major talent

Booklist
Starred Review. With this memorable collection, Brinkley emerges as a gifted and empathetic new writer.

Author Blurb Garth Greenwell
This is the rare debut that introduces not a promising talent but a major writer, fully formed.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • 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 $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

The Art of Capoeira

In "Everything the Mouth Eats," one of the stories in A Lucky Man, the martial art/dance form of capoeira takes center stage.

Capoeira or the Dance of War by Johann Moritz RugendasCapoeira originated in Brazil possibly among enslaved Africans who were brought to work the land for the Portuguese overlords. The South American country was ruled by the Portuguese from 1500 to 1815 and during this time the slave trade reached Brazil as well. It is said that capoeira originated as a dance form, a means of expression among the slaves who fled to form autonomous colonies in the hinterlands, known as quilombos.

In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, urban migration brought the art form to major city centers yet for decades capoeira was perceived as an outlawed practice. Capoeiristas in a RodaRecognition and ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • 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 $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked A Lucky Man, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • 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 $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Removes
    The Removes
    by Tatjana Soli
    Most students of American history are familiar with "Custer's Last Stand" – the battle ...
  • Book Jacket: A Girl's Guide to Missiles
    A Girl's Guide to Missiles
    by Karen Piper
    The Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake near California's Mojave Desert is the navy's largest ...
  • Book Jacket: Tiffany Blues
    Tiffany Blues
    by M.J. Rose
    I admit it. I'm an M. J. Rose fan. But this time I believe she has outdone herself.

    Set in ...
  • Book Jacket: The Wrong Heaven
    The Wrong Heaven
    by Amy Bonnafons
    The narrators of the short story collection The Wrong Heaven are plagued by critical talking lawn ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

The incredible true story of the women who fought America's Undark danger.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Fly Girls
    by Keith O'Brien

    How five daring women defied all odds and made aviation history.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Vox
    by Christina Dalcher

    What will one woman do to protect herself and her daughter in a society where women are silenced?
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    So Much Life Left Over
    by Louis de Bernieres

    An evocative and emotional novel set between the World Wars.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Vox

VOX by Christina Dalcher

The story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter in a society where half the population is silenced.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T B Y Speak

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 books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.