This moving debut collection illuminates the lives of a generation of young black men in gentrifying neighborhoods in Brooklyn and the Bronx. As these nine stories move in time from the 1990s to the present, we watch as characters attempt to make connections and survive in a rapidly changing world. Recommended By Adam P., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction
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.
Jamel Brinkley’s stories, in a debut that announces the arrival of a significant new voice, 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.
"Through pages of peerless prose and startlingly sharp sentences, what ultimately emerges is a constantly reframed argument about the role and power of masculinity, where vulnerability pulses beneath a skin of self preservation." Los Angeles Times
"[A Lucky Man] is intent on recognizing what masculinity looks like, questioning our expectations of it, and criticizing its toxicity — and somehow managing to do all of that with love." NPR.org
"Each story is a trenchant exploration of race and class, vividly conveying the tension between social codes of masculinity and the vulnerable, volatile self." The New Yorker
About the Author
Jamel Brinkley’s stories have appeared in A Public Space, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has been a Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellow. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.