Fortune Smiles: Stories (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

I don't care about plot. Plots are for the movies. Books need, secondarily, good characters, and, primarily, unique narrators. I don't want some snooze-fest of a cool-guy detective bragging about disarming bombs and bombshells for an entire trilogy. I want defiance of expectation. I want to view and understand the world through the mind of someone on the outside. Adam Johnson is perfect at creating these people, people who are both outlandish and real at the same time, people who can be kind, caring, confused, and evil all at once. Examples: former Stasi prison wardens, sympathetic sex offenders, drone-builders, UPS drivers, etc. And it's written in a style that is quickly becoming a personal favorite: the looong short story. They're stories you can read one at a time, in single sittings, that leave you fulfilled like a novel does, but haven't taken you a month to plow through. Compare them to good peaches: Each of them is plump, juicy, and delicious on the outside, and terrible and disgusting at their core.



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.


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

About the Author

Adam Johnson is the author of Fortune Smiles, winner of the National Book Award and the Story Prize and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and The Orphan Master's Son, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the California Book Award and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Johnson's other awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers' Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a Stegner Fellowship; he was also a finalist for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Award. His previous books are Emporium, a short story collection, and the novel Parasites Like Us. Johnson teaches creative writing at Stanford University and lives in San Francisco with his wife and children.

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780812997477
ISBN-10: 0812997476
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: August 18th, 2015
Pages: 320
Language: English
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