Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Date: September 2016
Duration: 10 hours 39 minutes
Ah Ling, the son of a prostitute and a "ghost"-a white man-is sent from his homeland to make his way alone in California. From humble laundry worker, he will rise to valet for a powerful railroad baron and unwittingly ignite an explosion in Chinese labor.
Anna May Wong, the first Chinese film star in Hollywood, is forbidden to kiss a white man onscreen. Shut out of leading roles, cast only as Dragon Lady or Butterfly, she must find her place between two worlds and two cultures.
Vincent Chin, aspiring all-American, is killed by a pair of Detroit auto workers simply for looking Japanese. He will become the symbol for a community roused to action in the face of hatred.
John Ling Smith, though half-Chinese, doesn't speak the language. When he visits China for the first time to adopt a baby girl, he sees the long history of both cultures coming together in the spark of a new century.
Inhabiting four lives-three inspired by real historical characters-The Fortunes captures and capsizes more than a century of our history, recasting the story of America through the lives of Chinese Americans. It brilliantly reimagines the multigenerational novel, looking through the prismatic fractures of immigrant experience, and showing that even as family bonds are denied and broken, a community can survive-as much through love as through blood.
Building fact into fiction, spinning fiction around fact, The Fortunes is sly, funny, intelligent, and artfully structured. It proves, once again, that, in the words of Elizabeth McCracken, Peter Ho Davies "can do anything, and he does." In this wonder of a novel, Davies offers not just marvelous storytelling, not just prose that sings and humor that bites, but also a rallying, hopeful vision of what it might mean to be American.