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The Son of Good Fortune: A Novel Hardcover – July 7, 2020
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“Tenorio’s insistence on the specificity of his characters’ dreams and longings is its own kind of argument for their right to be here…. An affecting portrayal of just how potently a parent can shape the expectations of her child…. His story is a tribute to the extreme inner strength it takes to make any life decision look like fate.” -- New York Times Book Review
"Living with this extraordinarily human undocumented family will make you laugh, weep, and think, sometimes all at once. Tenorio brilliantly makes these characters so original that they’re nearly tangible." -- James Hannaham, author of Delicious Foods
"Filled with the kind of absurdities that accompany the most difficult truths, Lysley Tenorio's brilliant, witty novel about the love of a mother and son, the immigrant experience in America, and the surreality of our current reality, is bold, ambitious, and unforgettable." -- Refinery 29
“This story is bursting with heart and wisdom, humor and hope. Tenorio's gifts as a writer are on display in this expertly constructed, gorgeously written tale of a family haunted by past mistakes, struggling toward the future. Immersive in its rich detail, it gathers momentum to its affecting and powerful conclusion. A remarkable novel by an author I plan to follow for years to come.” -- Charles Yu, author of Interior Chinatown and How To Live Safely in A Science Fictional Universe
“Lysley Tenorio’s funny and poignant second novel, The Son of Good Fortune, couldn’t come at a better time…. Tenorio skillfully wrings high comedy from his characters’ boxed-in lives in a country that doesn’t know what to do with them…. Timely.” -- San Francisco Chronicle
“[The Son of Good Fortune] sympathetically illuminates the tenuous lives of undocumented immigrants, those who are ‘not really here’.… Tenorio's characters are humorous and loving, in spite of the exclusion overshadowing their very existence.” -- Shelf Awareness (starred review)
“Tenorio, himself a Filipino immigrant, accurately and compassionately portrays the immigrant experience. Despite its universality, The Son of Good Fortune doesn’t lack for originality…. The story finds a witty voice and sets a unique tone. Despite the drudgery and harshness of immigrant life, Tenorio explores the humanity in the tribulations and creates characters who are as lovable as they are real. With his debut novel, Tenorio excavates joy from the immigrant experience.” -- BookPage
"Tenorio's The Son of Good Fortune, so propulsive, so over-the-top with life, I fell into it, deeply. This novel restored my faith in the power of a story to heal our self-inflicted wounds. We need such books, now more than ever." -- Peter Orner, author of Maggie Brown & Others: Stories
“I have a new favorite novel on my shelf.... A field study of the glamorous allure of the American dream and the eternal ache of its exclusion. Tenorio’s great talent lies in underpinning every moment of flash and humor with love, longing and the ever-forlorn question of identity. This novel is like a stone skipped across the Pacific, all the way to Manila. Visualize it, that series of rings lingering on the ocean’s surface, expanding, intersecting, intermingling to form a chain that anchors these characters, connects them, and after years of binding them, sets them free.” -- Adam Johnson, author of The Orphan Master’s Son
- Publisher : Ecco (July 7, 2020)
- Language: : English
- Hardcover : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062059572
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062059574
- Item Weight : 1 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.01 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #517,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." -Delia Owens Learn more
Top reviews from the United States
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This book runs you through many different emotions, hurt, anger, love, embarrassment, and it is like a train wreck that you cannot look away from. Excel just wants to find a normal life, unlike the one his mom provided him. When he runs away from it all after high school to live in a small city in the desert, will he find the life he is looking for?
I was really expecting a bit more out of this book with all the rave reviews but for me, it was just so-so. It wasn't bad but it wasn't great either. There is so much potential here and the message is clear and I would have liked it to go a little bit deeper (it only spans a year of Excel's life with some flashbacks). If you have some time it may be worth the read just for the perspective on living your life constantly looking over your shoulder and what undocumented people really go through.
I received this book as an ARC in a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you, Goodreads and Harper Collins Publishers for the opportunity to read and review it.
The Son of Good Fortune is an immersive and character driven story about the harsh realities of being an undocumented immigrant in the US. Tenorio brilliantly narrates how the paranoia of being discovered for fear of deportation affects families and the children of these immigrants, while struggling to survive.
This story is centered in Maxima, a B actress from the Philippines who came to America to escape exploitation and a dwindling acting career. While on the plane, from Manila to San Francisco, a very pregnant Maxima delivers a baby boy Excel. At 10 years old, Excel learns from her mother that they are both undocumented immigrants hiding in plain sight a TNT, which is a mnemonic for the Tagalog term for ‘Tago Nang Tago’ or Hiding and Hiding.
This harsh realization of their status affects Excel in so many ways where “I am not really here” affects his identity and the relationships he has had throughout since. Keeping such a secret that had been ingrained by her mother for fear of discovery and their lives being uprooted only to be sent away when discovered.
This stunning story touched my heart being a first generation immigrant myself. As I read the passages, this story resonated with the sacrifices my parents had to go through for their children to have a better life and future.
Living in Los Angeles , I knew of neighbors and friends who were undocumented, and how they lived in fear everyday, have menial jobs, suffer through injustice and abuse, unable to report or say anything in fear of being reported, only to survive another day. This book touched upon the all so real experiences of these families through Maxima and Excel’s stories. This truly was an incredibly well written immigrant story.
I was able to listen to this book in audio as wonderfully narrated by Reuben Uy. The voices were so distinct for each character, and the accents were amazing and done so well. It definitely added to my reading experience listening to this in audio. There were many parts I became quite emotional, and I highly recommend this in audio!