Synopses & Reviews
From the author of The Welsh Girl comes a groundbreaking, provocative new novel.
Sly, funny, intelligent, and artfully structured, The Fortunes recasts American history through the lives of Chinese Americans and reimagines the multigenerational novel through the fractures of immigrant family experience.
Inhabiting four lives—a railroad baron’s valet who unwittingly ignites an explosion in Chinese labor, Hollywood's first Chinese movie star, a hate-crime victim whose death mobilizes Asian Americans, and a biracial writer visiting China for an adoption—this novel captures and capsizes over a century of our history, showing that even as family bonds are denied and broken, a community can survive—as much through love as blood.
Building fact into fiction, spinning fiction around fact, Davies uses each of these stories—three inspired by real historical characters—to examine the process of becoming not only Chinese American, but American.
"Panoramic in scope yet intimate in detail, The Fortunes might be the most honest, unflinching, cathartically biting novel I've read about the Chinese American experience. It asks the big questions about identity and history that every American needs to ask in the 21st century." Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You
"A poignant, cascading four-part novel about being Asian and western, about immigrants and natives, about belonging in a country and one’s skin...It's outstanding." David Mitchell, author of Slade House, The Bone Clocks, Cloud Atlas, and others
"Intertwining fact with fictional license and creative finesse, Davies charts the conflicted, complicated journey of being a minority American through multiple generations. Rich rewards await readers searching for superbly illuminating historical fiction; think Geraldine Brooks’ Caleb’sCrossing (2011) or Hilary Mantel’s Cromwell trilogy." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Not to be missed…Using both real and fictional figures in Chinese American history, Ho Davies has created a masterful novel about what it is to feel like an outsider in the place you call home. It is also the story of America, told through the eyes of her immigrants." The Bookseller (UK), Editor’s Choice
"The book’s scope is impressive, but what’s even more staggering is the utter intimacy and honesty of each character’s introspection. More extraordinary still is the depth and the texture created by the juxtaposition of different eras, making for a story not just of any one person but of hundreds of years and tens of millions of people. Davies (The Welsh Girl) has created a brilliant, absorbing masterpiece." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
About the Author
Peter Ho Davies is on the faculty of the graduate program in creative writing at the University of Michigan. His debut collection, The Ugliest House in the World, won the John Llewellyn Rhys and PEN/Macmillan awards in Britain. His second collection, Equal Love, was hailed by the New York Times Book Review for its "stories as deep and clear as myth." It was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and a New York Times Notable Book. In 2003 Davies was named among the "Best of Young British Novelists" by Granta. The Welsh Girl was his first novel. The son of a Welsh father and Chinese mother, Davies was raised in England and spent his summers in Wales.