Author(s): Peter Ho Davies
This vibrant and unusual novel features a Chinese boy left to make his way in 1860s Sacramento; a glamorous film star and 1920s flapper, forbidden to kiss a white man on screen; Vincent Chin, killed in 1980s Detroit because he looked Japanese; and in the present, a half-Chinese writer, who has all he wants except a child. Playfully recasting the traditional multi-generational novel, TELL IT SLANT traces the lives of four people, both real and imagined, who together capture the history of the Chinese in America. Ranging from the bachelor society of the Gold Rush era to the recent wave of adopted Chinese babies, this is a tale of familial bonds denied and fragmented. Yet it's also one of great tenacity, success and slow but sure change. It is the story, too, of America, seen through the lens of the foreigners brought in to build the Transcontinental Railroad in the wake of the Civil War, and who stayed on. A masterful, often heartrending novel, which reminds us of our common humanity and the universal need to belong.
The book's scope is impressive, but what's even more staggering is the utter intimacy and honesty of each character's introspection. More extraordinary still is the depth and the texture created by the juxtaposition of different eras ... Davies has created a brilliant, absorbing masterpiece. Publishers Weekly Superbly illuminating historical fiction; think Geraldine Brooks' Caleb's Crossing (2011) or Hilary Mantel's Cromwell trilogy Booklist Unique in conception and rich in resonance. It combines fiction with history and myth and depicts a different kind of America, one produced by the mingling of races and cultures. Ha Jin Only a writer as gifted as Peter Ho Davies could capture the full weight of a century's history with such an extraordinary lightness of touch ... Buoyant yet profound, unsentimental yet affecting, and above all beautifully written, The Fortunes reimagines in thrilling ways what the multi-generational immigrant novel can be. Sarah Shun-lien Bynum Wonderfully lucid and sharply imagined ... Readers will be richer for it. Jesmyn Ward
Peter Ho Davies's novel THE WELSH GIRL was published by Sceptre in 2007, when it was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. It was also a Richard Judy Book Club choice and was shortlisted for the R J Best Read at the British Book Awards. His first short story collection, THE UGLIEST HOUSE IN THE WORLD (1997), won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the PEN/Macmillan Prize, while his second, EQUAL LOVE (2000), was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and a New York Times Notable Book. In 2003 , he was chosen as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists and was a recipient of the PEN/Malamud Award in 2008. Born in Britain to Welsh and Chinese parents, Davies now lives in the US, where he is a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Michigan. He is married with one son.