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A Lucky Man: Stories by Jamel Brinkley
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A Lucky Man: Stories

by Jamel Brinkley

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779238,826 (3.82)25
"In the nine expansive, searching stories of A lucky man, fathers and sons attempt to salvage relationships with friends and family members and confront mistakes made in the past. An imaginative young boy from the Bronx goes swimming with his group from day camp at a backyard pool in the suburbs, and faces the effects of power and privilege in ways he can barely grasp. A teen intent on proving himself a man through the all-night revel of J'Ouvert can't help but look out for his impressionable younger brother. A pair of college boys on the prowl follow two girls home from a party and have to own the uncomfortable truth of their desires. And at a Capoeira conference, two brothers grapple with how to tell the story of their family, caught in the dance of their painful, fractured history. Jamel Brinkley's stories, in a debut that announces the arrival of a significant new voice, reflect the tenderness and vulnerability of black men and boys whose hopes sometimes betray them, especially in a world shaped by race, gender, and class--where luck may be the greatest fiction of all." --Amazon.com.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
I rarely read short story anthologies. A Lucky Man is a series of stories about fathers and sons. The stories felt very contemporary and complex. Although I found some of the subject matter hard to read due to the characters situations, the author's approach was very unique and kept me turning the page. ( )
  Beth.Clarke | Jun 28, 2019 |
DNF at 25% (after two stories).

It's not the book, it's me. The stories were very accomplished but I find myself almost completely unable to read books rooted in the male gaze, where women characters are present primarily to provide motivation for the male characters. Also, animal abuse that presumably was meant to tell me something about the characters, but I think I had figured them out at that point and didn't need the cruelty to drive the point home. ( )
  Sunita_p | May 17, 2019 |
This is a noteworthy collection; not only are short stories a hard sell for established authors, but for a new author like Brinkley, published by a smaller publisher outside of the Big Five to get any attention at all is unusual. Yet this book shows up on prize lists as diverse as the National Book Award and The Tournament of Books. The attention the is book is getting is well-deserved, the stories collected here are varied, but all speak to the experience of growing up as a person of color in New York. Like most collections, there were a few weaker offerings sandwiched between the strongest stories at the front and back of the book, but all were worth reading. Brinkley's skill is to bring the inner life of a child to life and to make the reader feel every uncertainty. This is a collection that brings to life the people living in the ungentrified areas of New York's boroughs. It's a good collection and I'll be sure to read whatever Brinkley writes next. ( )
  RidgewayGirl | Apr 8, 2019 |
This book of nine short stories was on the short list for the National Book Award. I have read a couple of the other nominees and this book stands up quite well compared to those. The nine stories have African American male characters as the prime protagonist in each story. Brinkley varies the age and circumstance of the characters in each story but they mainly center around Brooklyn and the Bronx. The overall theme is the difficulty of men finding their way in the world. Trying to compare what they see and feel for themselves versus the idea of masculine stereotypes that they have to deal with The quality of the writing is excellent and for me it helped add to my knowledge of how it is for black men in America. Each story is in the 20-25 page range which gives the author the ability to delve into the characters. He touches on all the major themes of family, race, youth, old age, etc. Most important is the relationship between sons and fathers and dealing with a family unit that has absentee dads and moms, step parents, step brothers and sisters. A very impressive collection and a worthwhile read. ( )
  nivramkoorb | Feb 14, 2019 |
This is a super strong debut. Brinkley digs into the inner lives of urban men and boys of color in wonderfully nuanced, intelligent stories that deal with some big themes—masculinity, racism, class, anger, disappointment, fathers and sons, aging, the male gaze—without ever getting heavy handed. His characters are complex, often thorny, and always striving toward honesty with themselves—if not always with one another. These deep dives into hearts and minds are warm and emotionally astute, the city settings vivid, and the writing beautiful. Each one of the nine is a standout, but damn I loved “J’ouvert, 1996." ( )
2 vote lisapeet | Feb 12, 2019 |
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