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Fiction in brief: The Fortunes by Peter Ho Davies

Driven by a scalding sense of injustice, this sensitive but uneven historical novel unfolds as four tales of Chinese experience in the United States

By  Anthony Cummins   January 2017

9780544263703The Fortunes by Peter Ho Davies (Sceptre, £14.99)

Driven by a scalding sense of injustice, this sensitive but uneven historical novel unfolds as four tales of Chinese experience in the United States.

The first three draw on real-life figures. In gold-rush California we follow Ah Ling, a young laundryman who lands on his feet when he’s hired by a railway tycoon; his female peers aren’t so lucky. The focus then falls on early Hollywood star Anna May Wong, overlooked for Chinese roles in favour of white actresses wearing make-up.

After these detailed but…

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