“Can you tell a story that doesn’t begin, it’s just suddenly happening?”

In each of the six short stories in this collection, which won the 2015 National book Award, things suddenly happen on the first page: there are no descriptions of the setting, no background information.  Instead, the story seems to be already happening.  In an interview, author Adam Johnson said, “I just work relentlessly in scene.  I don’t believe in summary or exposition.” Fast openings can make the reader feel uncomfortable, and, in fact, many of these stories are about desperate people with unpleasant problems. Why read them? They are astonishing, perceptive and brave, by turns surprising, wondrous, comic and devastating.

Johnson, Adam. Fortune Smiles. Random House. 2015.

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