The National Book Award–winning story collection from the author of The Orphan Master’s Son offers something rare in fiction: a new way of looking at the world.
“MASTERFUL.”—The Washington Post “ENTRANCING.”—O: The Oprah Magazine “PERCEPTIVE AND BRAVE.”—The New York Times
Throughout these six stories, Pulitzer Prize winner Adam Johnson delves deep into love and loss, natural disasters, the influence of technology, and how the political shapes the personal, giving voice to the perspectives we don’t often hear.
In “Nirvana,” a programmer whose wife has a rare disease finds solace in a digital simulacrum of the president of the United States. In “Hurricanes Anonymous,” a young man searches for the mother of his son in a Louisiana devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. “George Orwell Was a Friend of Mine” follows a former warden of a Stasi prison in East Germany who vehemently denies his past, even as pieces of it are delivered in packages to his door. And in the unforgettable title story, Johnson returns to his signature subject, North Korea, depicting two defectors from Pyongyang who are trying to adapt to their new lives in Seoul, while one cannot forget the woman he left behind.
WINNER OF THE STORY PRIZE • A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK
NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Miami Herald • San Francisco Chronicle • USA Today
AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • NPR • Marie Claire • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • BuzzFeed • The Daily Beast • Los Angeles Magazine • The Independent • BookPage • Kirkus Reviews
“Remarkable . . . Adam Johnson is one of America’s greatest living writers.”—The Huffington Post
“Haunting, harrowing . . . Johnson’s writing is as rich in compassion as it is in invention, and that rare combination makes Fortune Smiles worth treasuring.”—USA Today
“Fortune Smiles [blends] exotic scenarios, morally compromised characters, high-wire action, rigorously limber prose, dense thickets of emotion, and, most critically, our current techno-moment.”—The Boston Globe
“Johnson’s boundary-pushing stories make for exhilarating reading.”—San Francisco Chronicle
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Prisons—spiritual, metaphorical, and real—are at the heart of Pulitzer Prize–winning author Adam Johnson’s intricate and jewellike stories. Many of the characters in his collection, including a pedophile plagued by guilt, a former Stasi prison warden who rationalizes his crimes, and two feckless North Korean defectors unable to appreciate their freedom in South Korea, aren’t exactly people you’d want living across the street from you. And yet, Johnson manages to pull off a magnificent trick, coloring each persona with a deft mixture of hope and shame. Fortune Smiles is dark enough that it puts you through the emotional wringer, but Johnson’s stories end up making you believe that, in the end, all human beings are redeemable.
Customer ReviewsSee All
If you’re hesitant to buy a collection of short stories, this is the group to pull the trigger on. Simply amazing. Five stars