Fortune Smiles is a collection of 6 short stories by Pulitzer Prize winner Adam Johnson. These stories are highly imaginative about things that aren’t usually written about. This is my first experience with general short fiction and I enjoyed it. The following are my ratings for each short story in the book:
- Nirvana – 3/5 An interesting premise about a man that creates a program that allows users to interact with a deceased, assassinated President, and he uses that program to talk about his wife that has Guillian-Barre syndrome. His wife makes him promise that he will kill her if she asks him to. Good at certain parts.
- Hurricane Anonymous – 2/5 A story set after Hurricane Katrina hit and a man must raise his newly acquired son after his mother dropped him off right before the storm. Visually the story was great but the plot just didn’t gel with me.
- Interesting Facts – 2/5 The story of a wife with cancer and the after-effects of that illness on the family. Too sentimental and cliche.
- George Orwell Was a Friend of Mine – 5/5 An ex-East Germany prison warden that locked people up for going against the U.S.S.R. The prison he worked at has become a memorial but he denies that anything bad ever happened to the inmates. My favorite story in this collection. I loved the subject matter, the history, the main character, and the theme. Just a fabulous short.
- Dark Meadow – 4/5 A story about a pedophile that is trying to figure out if he is a good or bad man that never harmed a child, and helps the police catch others. Unsettling, disgusting, and one of the most challenging things I ever read. I wanted to stop reading it many times, and I probably should have, but I wanted an insight, to somehow understand. I came to more of an understanding but I was extremely uncomfortable while reading this.
- Fortune Smiles – 4/5 Two men from North Korea are trying to cope with what life is outside North Korea in South Korea. Good story that was written well and I like that Johnson makes these men miss things about North Korea. I also liked how they thought how frivolous certain things were in South Korea.
Overall, I enjoyed this short story collection. I definitely want to read The Orphan Master’s Son now. Johnson is a good writer that isn’t afraid to go into subjects that are difficult and not talked about much. I only recommend this collection for adults.