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SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2021
'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
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.
'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
'A novel of tremendous power, compassion and subtlety, it feels unsettlingly timely' Pankaj Mishra
© Nadifa Mohamed 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021
Grippingly-paced and full of complex, richly-drawn characters, the novel combines pointed social observation with a deeply empathetic sensibility. The Fortune Men demonstrates what historical fiction can achieve at its best
In her determined, nuanced and compassionate exposure of injustice, Mohamed gives the terrible story of Mattan's life and death meaning and dignity
The Fortune Men is a novel on fire, a restitution of justice in prose
A searing and moving look at institutional racism and the helplessness you can feel in the face of prejudice
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
Chilling and utterly compelling, The Fortune Men shines an essential light on a much-neglected period of our national life
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
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
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
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
The author of The Fortune Men on how a Somali man wrongly accused of murder in 1952 Tiger’s Bay, Cardiff captured her imagination – and inspired her third novel.
Great Circle, The Promise, The Fortune Men and Bewilderment have all been shortlisted for the biggest prize in the literary calendar.