The Fortunes

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From the best-selling, acclaimed author ofThe Welsh Girl comes a groundbreaking, provocative new novel recasting American history through the lives of Chinese Americans. Sly, funny, intelligent, and artfully structured,Tell It Slant reimagines the traditional multigenerational novel through the lens of immigrant experience. The family institution is revered in Chinese culture, but the historical reality of Chinese Americans has seen family bonds denied, fragmented, or imperiled.Tell It Slant uses this history--from the bachelor society of the gold rush era to laws against interracial marriage to the recent wave of adopted baby girls--to create a portrait of a community whose line of descent is broken, yet which has tenaciously persisted, as much through love as by blood. Through four lives--a railroad baron's valet who unwittingly ignites an explosion in Chinese labor, Hollywood's first Chinese movie star, a victim of a hate crime that mobilizes Asian Americans, and a biracial writer visiting China for an adoption--this novel captures and capsizes over a century of our history. Building fact into fiction, spinning fiction around fact, Davies answers Emily Dickinson's call toTell It Slant, finding therein a greater truth. He uses each of these stories--three inspired by real historical characters--to examine the process of becoming not only Chinese American, but American.