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Fortune Smiles

Fortune Smiles


Book - 2015
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"In six masterly stories, Johnson delves deep into love and loss, natural disasters, the influence of technology, and how the political shapes the personal. "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. "Nirvana," portrays a programmer whose wife has a rare disease finding 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. 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"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2015]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780812997477
Branch Call Number: FICTION JOHNS...A
Characteristics: 304 pages ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

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. Johnson won the 2015 National Book Award for Fiction fo... Read More »

Fiction winner.

Fiction winner.

From the critics

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RogerDeBlanck Jul 27, 2018

Adam Johnson has followed up his unforgettable novel, The Orphan Master’s Son, with an impressive and equally indelible collection of stories, Fortune Smiles. The six tales in this volume will stay with me for a long time. In particular, three of them feel permanently seared in my mind. In “Hurricanes Anonymous” a father, who is trying to set his life on the right track, finds himself in search of the mother of his infant son in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Johnson’s voice for the story rivals the innovative tone that is so distinctive in the work of Junot Diaz. In “George Orwell Was a Friend of Mine” a former prison warden in East Germany refuses to believe his past played any role in the horrors of those imprisoned. And in “Dark Meadow” a man struggling with his innermost vices tries to steer his life in a new direction. Each of these remarkable stories shows Johnson’s ability to examine wayward individuals and yet offer an angle of compassion for their troubled lives. Few writers are as bold and daring as Johnson in exploring the conscience of lost souls living on the fringe of society. Nonetheless, he is able to locate the humanity buried somewhere in their core. Even while tackling subjects of personal struggle and suffering, he also finds a way to thread a stream of humor throughout. Ultimately, he offers hope for even the most broken and downtrodden of lives. Fortune Smiles is as brilliant in its range of characters as any story collection I’ve ever read.

May 08, 2018

Definitely do not miss "George Orwell is a Friend of Mine", but each of this stories is indicative of Johnson's storytelling expertise. All stories in this collection touch on disruption and disillusion.

ArapahoeLesley Nov 10, 2016

A set of 6 National Book Award winning stories, Fortune Smiles, was more than I expected as I'm not much of a short story reader. Each story was well told, uncomfortable, yet impacting in it's own way.

sungeun2k1 Aug 20, 2016

Darkly unsettling. Surreally funny, although at times I wasn't sure I was supposed to be laughing. Dark Meadows in particular left me uneasy and unnerved. Every strange situation in 6 short stories seemed a metaphor for the absurdity of North Korea in the final story, or maybe it's the other way around.

Apr 03, 2016

Not a particularly interesting book. Was not impressed but read it all anyway

Mar 19, 2016

It was a normal book and none of the stories were particularly interesting to me. It was easy to read and get through but is not memorable for me.

ChiPubLib_Adults Nov 19, 2015

2015 National Book Award Winner in Fiction.

Aug 04, 2015

The book is titled "Fortune Smiles" not "Interesting Facts: Stories"


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