The Fortune Men (Hardback)Nadifa Mohamed (author)
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A sobering examination of prejudice, justice and the dispensability of truth, The Fortune Men tells the story of Mahmood, a chancer and petty criminal who finds himself wrongfully charged for murder in 1950s Cardiff.
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2021.
Mahmood Mattan is a fixture in Cardiff's Tiger Bay, 1952, which bustles with Somali and West Indian sailors, Maltese businessmen and Jewish families. He is a father, chancer, some-time petty thief. He is many things, in fact, but he is not a murderer.
So when a shopkeeper is brutally killed and all eyes fall on him, Mahmood isn't too worried. It is true that he has been getting into trouble more often since his Welsh wife Laura left him. But Mahmood is secure in his innocence in a country where, he thinks, justice is served.
It is only in the run-up to the trial, as the prospect of freedom dwindles, that it will dawn on Mahmood that he is in a terrifying fight for his life - against conspiracy, prejudice and the inhumanity of the state. And, under the shadow of the hangman's noose, he begins to realise that the truth may not be enough to save him.
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Number of pages: 384
Weight: 498 g
Dimensions: 222 x 144 x 35 mm
'Chilling and utterly compelling, The Fortune Men shines an essential light on a much-neglected period of our national life.' - Sathnam Sanghera, author of Empireland
'A writer of great humanity and intelligence. Nadifa Mohamed deeply understands how lives are shaped both by the grand sweep of history and the intimate encounters of human beings.' - Kamila Shamsie, author of Home Fire
'The Fortune Men describes how innocence is forced to justify itself before gross injustice. A novel of tremendous power, compassion and subtlety, it feels unsettlingly timely.' - Pankaj Mishra
'In her determined, nuanced and compassionate exposure of injustice, Mohamed gives the terrible story of Mattan's life and death meaning and dignity.' - The Guardian
'The Fortune Men confirms Mohamed as a literary star of her generation. When Mohamed's prose - simple and full of soul - illuminated him, Mahmood emerges as a beacon of humour, hope and endurance.' - The Observer
'Based on real events, Mohamed's novel is panoramic in its scope and rich in period atmosphere, vividly tracing the desperate livers of the victim and the accused.' - Mail on Sunday
'The Fortune Men is a novel on fire, a restitution of justice in prose.' - Financial Times
'The Fortune Men is that rare novel that breaks your heart and, in so doing, gives you life. Nadifa Mohamed is a revelation - she writes with the fierce compassionate lightning of a truth-teller, lays bare the ghastly colonial condition that afflicts so many of us, where truth cannot overcome injustice. If a novel can be an avenger then The Fortune Men is the one we've all been waiting for.' - Junot Diaz
'Mohamed is . . . intent on expanding her world, listing its teeming varieties and presenting a wealth of character and language.' - TLS
'Evocative and enlightening.' - New Statesman
'A moving work.' - The Week, Novel of the Week
'A moving and captivating tale of survival and hope in a war-torn country, and confirms Mohamed's stature as one of Britain's best young novelists.' - Stylist on The Orchard of Lost Souls
'It's unbearably wrenching . . . Mohamed makes the outrage at the book's heart blazingly unignorable by inhabiting Mattan's point of view, a bold endeavour pulled off to powerful effect. Passages from the barbaric climax are still echoing in my head, even as I type.' - Daily Mail
'Mixing startling lyricism and sheer brutality, this is a significant, affecting book.' - The Guardian, on Black Mamba Boy
'Just as Half of a Yellow Sun drew out the little documented dramas of the Biafran war, Mohamed describes an East Africa under Mussolini's rule . . . such an accomplished first novel.' - The Independent, on Black Mamba Boy
'A first novel of elegance and beauty... a stunning debut.' - The Times, on Black Mamba Boy
'A haunting and intimate portrait of the lives of women in war-torn Somalia.' - New York Journal of Books, on The Orchard of Lost Souls
'With the unadorned language of a wise, clear-eyed observer, Nadifa Mohamed has spun an unforgettable tale.' - Taiye Selasi, on The Orchard of Lost Souls
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“An important story”
The Fortune Men is a story of shame, of injustice and is a story that leaves a dark stain on the British criminal justice system. Based on the true story of Mahmood Mattan, a Somali man living in Cardiff's Tiger... More
“What an amazing historical fiction novel”
What an amazing historical fiction novel, not at all what I was expecting.
The book is set in Tiger Bay, Cardiff, in 1952. Mahmood is a Somali married to Laura, a local woman. 1950’s Cardiff is a bustle of... More
Mahmood Mattan is a fixture in Cardiff's Tiger Bay, 1952, which bustles with Somali and West Indian sailors, Maltese businessmen and Jewish families. He is a father, chancer, petty criminal. He is a smooth-talker... More
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