Fortunate Son: A Novel

Fortunate Son: A Novel

4.2 28
by Walter Mosley
     
 

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Tommy's nickname is Lucky, but no one would think this crippled boy was blessed. Cursed with health problems and drawn into trouble more often than not, Tommy is the recipient of pity rather than admiration. He is nothing like his stepbrother Eric.


Eric, a Nordic Adonis, is graced by a seemingly endless supply of good fortune-he is charming, a star… See more details below

Overview

Tommy's nickname is Lucky, but no one would think this crippled boy was blessed. Cursed with health problems and drawn into trouble more often than not, Tommy is the recipient of pity rather than admiration. He is nothing like his stepbrother Eric.


Eric, a Nordic Adonis, is graced by a seemingly endless supply of good fortune-he is charming, a star athlete, and a magnet for anyone in his sphere. Yet in spite of these differences, Eric and Tommy are as close as two humans can be.


After tragedy rips their makeshift family apart, the lives of these boys split. In a powerful story of modern-day resilience and redemption, Tommy and Eric forge their separate ways in the world, each confronting the challenges of his sphere. For Tommy this means dropping out of school, selling drugs, living on the streets, and somehow creating a family of his own. Motherless, African-American, and impoverished, Tommy has nothing but feels lucky every day of his life. For Eric, the golden youth, life means athletics, sexual attraction, excellent grades, prosperity, and the uncertainty that comes with prizes won too easily. Given everything, he trusts nothing.


Eric and Tommy's parallel lives are an astonishing story of self-determination and the true measure of fortune. The ties that bind this Adonis and his sickly counterpart, however, are thicker than blood, and when circumstances reunite Eric and Tommy after years apart, their distinct approaches to life may be the only thing that can save them from forces that threaten to destroy them for good.


Written with unique insight into the hidden currents and deeper realities of modern life, Fortunate Son is a tour de force by the author the Boston Globe calls "one of this nation's finest writers."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
White Los Angeles heart surgeon Minas Nolan, a very recent widower, meets African-American flower-shop employee Branwyn Beerman when her son Thomas is born prematurely with a hole in his lung, and without a father in his life. Minas has a son, Eric, a week younger than Tommy, and the four, along with enigmatic Vietnamese nanny Ahn, soon form a loving m nage. Following Branwyn's sudden death 50 pages later, Tommy, now six, is plunged into a hardscrabble life when his difficult father, Elton, claims him; he grows up without resentment, talking aloud to Branwyn when he's sad or confused (and sometimes to Elton's on-again, off-again partner, May), but ends up on the streets. Eric, meanwhile, sails through childhood and adolescence, but remains alienated, constantly missing "his brother," even having a child at 16 with Christine, who's a few years older. Knowingly drawing on the genre constraints that drive his Easy Rawlins mysteries, Mosley puts Thomas through trial after trial, and Eric through a kind of chronic heartlessness. Both continually refer to the time they lived together, and each thinks of the other as a real brother. After more than 10 years of separation, they're reunited, but that's not the point: with the lightest, slyest of touches, Mosley shows how a certain kind of inarticulate, carnal, involuntary affection transcends just about anything. It's not love, it's fate, and it's breathtaking. (Apr. 10) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Mosley has written a memorable fable about two "brothers": African American Thomas (a.k.a. "Lucky") Beerman, born with a hole in his lung, who goes as an infant with his mother to live with prominent white doctor Minas Nolan, and Eric, Minas's own baby, a beautiful and talented golden child. After the death of his mother, Thomas is wrenched from Minas's household to that of his estranged biological father. Thomas subsequently spends time in jail and years on the street but remains optimistic and warm hearted. Eric leads a charmed life, but can't seem to connect with those around him. Thomas and Eric are reunited after ten years, to come to a new understanding of fate and fortune. Lorraine Toussaint's reading is soft and understated, hitting just the right notes without too much drama. The program has been awarded an AudioFile Earphones award. Highly recommended.
—Kristen L. Smith
Kirkus Reviews
Mosley's latest departure from his Easy Rawlins mysteries (Cinnamon Kiss, 2005, etc.) is a parable about the ineffable bond between two boys-one white, one black-raised as brothers. A week after Thomas Beerman is born with a hole in his lung and a bleak prognosis for a short life inside a germ-free bubble, heart surgeon Minas Nolan's wife dies in the same West L.A. hospital giving birth to her big, vigorous son Eric, who seems to have sucked all the life out of her. Dr. Nolan and Brianna Beerman soon become friends, then lovers, and when she signs her sickly boy out of the hospital on his advice, he opens his lonely home to her and Tommy. All goes well until Brianna dies when the boys are six and Elton Trueblood, the father who's never done a thing for Tommy, turns up to claim him. The boys' enforced separation is a disaster for them both. Tommy, beaten by his eternally angry father and unable to continue at the school he's been sent to, takes to life on the streets, first hiding out in a private alley he makes his home, then making deliveries for a local drug-dealer. Eric, the golden boy who never has to make any decisions because everyone is drawn to him and everything is handed to him, realizes that his life is empty without Brianna and Tommy, the only people he's ever been able to open his heart to. The brothers' lives diverge in predictable ways (Tommy's physical injuries, prison term and long tenure as a homeless person versus Eric's unstoppable success as student and stud) with constant allegorical overtones en route to an anticlimax. Though he doesn't duplicate the austere power of The Man in My Basement (2004), Mosley makes his simple tale gripping through the studied artlessnessof his storytelling.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780759515482
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
04/10/2006
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
356,509
File size:
0 MB

Meet the Author

Walter Mosley is the author of the acclaimed Easy Rawlins series of mysteries and numerous other works of fiction and nonfiction. He lives in New York.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
New York, New York
Date of Birth:
January 12, 1952
Place of Birth:
Los Angeles, California
Education:
B.A., Johnson State College
Website:
http://www.waltermosley.com

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