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'Fortune Smiles' by Adam Johnson: EW Review

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We gave it an A

Johnson’s last novel, the high-wire dystopian satire The Orphan Master’s Son, peeled back the curtain on North Korea and won him a Pulitzer. Fortune‘s six stories are mostly grounded in more familiar settings, but strangeness thrums beneath them all. The characters—a UPS driver in post-Katrina Louisiana, a cancer patient, a self-loathing pedophile, a mismatched pair of Korean defectors, the former warden of a Stasi prison—are all displaced in some way, exiled or lost or just gone astray. The best story may be the first: “Nirvana,” a beautifully calibrated near-future fable about a Silicon Valley programmer who reanimates an assassinated president to help him cope with the illness of his young wife. But every one carves out its own little corner of weird, indelible humanity. A

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