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Summer Reading 2017: Fortune Smiles

Find the book you want to read this summer!

About the book

Fortune Smiles

by Adam Johnson

In six masterly stories, Johnson delves deep into love and loss, natural disasters, the influence of technology, and how the political shapes the personal. “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. “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.

Unnerving, riveting, and written with a timeless quality, these stories confirm Johnson as one of America’s greatest writers and an indispensable guide to our new century.

Applicable categories for the Urban Read Harder Challenge:

Passport (the title story is set in North Korea)



For Fans Of

  • Short stories
  • Dark humor
  • Zadie Smith

About the reader

Courtney Rein, English Department Chair

Courtney has recommended the following titles in the past:

  • Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem
  • The Bone people by Keri Hulme
  • Swamplandia by Kerry Russel
  • Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
  • The Arab of the Future by Riad Sattouf