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A Lucky Man: Stories
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About the Author

Jamel Brinkley's stories have appeared in A Public Space, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and has been a Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellow. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Reviews

"Each story is a trenchant exploration of race and class, vividly conveying the tension between social codes of masculinity and the vulnerable, volatile self."--The New Yorker "[A Lucky Man] is intent on recognizing what masculinity looks like, questioning our expectations of it, and criticizing its toxicity--and somehow managing to do all of that with love. . . . The collection may include only nine stories, but in each of them, Brinkley gives us an entire world."--NPR.org "With equal parts precision and poetry, these nine audacious stories step into the minefields awaiting boys of color as they approach manhood in Brooklyn and the Bronx--testing the limits of relationships, social norms, and their own definitions of masculinity."--O, The Oprah Magazine "Through pages of peerless prose and startlingly sharp sentences, what ultimately emerges is a constantly reframed argument about the role and power of masculinity, where vulnerability pulses beneath a skin of self preservation."--Los Angeles Times "Brinkley's collection A Lucky Man, already creating waves within the literary sphere, manages to be simultaneously polemical and immersive, in a series of tenderly insightful studies of masculinity, race, and the scars of history."--Entertainment Weekly "The stories hit with a silent thunder that reverberates within you long after you've finished them."--San Francisco Chronicle "Brinkley shows both the great beauty and ugliness of humanity--but always with empathy--and captures the ways in which our world is defined and divided by power."--BuzzFeed "What a distinct pleasure it is to get in on the early side of a burgeoning career, to read a work that introduces a new and important voice in the literary world. The stores in Jamel Brinkley's debut are both confident in their execution and profoundly moving in their style."--Maris Kreizman, Vulture "Amazingly insightful and emotionally nuanced."--Curtis Sittenfeld, Vulture "Spectacular. . . . Quite simply stunning. . . . [Jamel Brinkley] shines a light on difficult truths."--Nylon "With this observant book, Brinkley demonstrates an enviable capacity for narrative compression. . . . He's capable of creating complex and memorable emotional worlds."--Star Tribune (Minneapolis) "An unmissable debut short story collection, Jamel Brinkley's poignant A Lucky Man is revelatory in its crafting of prose and language. A wonderful read."--The Root "Beautifully wrought. . . . Brinkley synthesizes empathy and accountability with controlled, sharp lyricism and a big steady heart."--Shelf Awareness "With a wise and wistful touch, Brinkley offers us a series of portraits of black men--New York City natives, all--who cannot square their desires with the demands of a culture that expects masculinity, self-sufficiency and confidence. . . . There is an effortless feeling to Brinkley's sentences, a casual beauty that lends poignance to all his confused boys, his sad and angry men."--Longreads "A collection as fine as this, of fiction that is reflecting our world and searching for the truth, is one to be treasured, read and reread, admired, and loved."--Ploughshares "This is an assured and important collection that could not be more timely."--Kenyon Review "A Lucky Man . . . reminds me of Moonlight. . . . Brinkley explores black men under both the pressurized violence and bottled up tenderness that undoes them at every turn. This is a book that acknowledges male stereotypes while subverting them and exploring the psychic damage they leave in their wake."--KQED, "The Spine" "In Brinkley's work, no character is left untended, no aspect of identity is overlooked, and the results are well-inhabited worlds that feel infinite. . . . A Lucky Man is not only a standout debut for the year, but also a testament to what can be achieved in a short story."--Chicago Review of Books "Each of Brinkley's true-to-life stories offers the reader marvelous depth and insight into the complex emotional landscapes of America's wayward sons."--Duende "With stunning clarity and generosity of detail, each of the nine stories leaves its own lasting impression, while the book as a whole coalesces into a devastating tapestry of confused masculinity, familial responsibility, and the intractable power of privilege to impede upon and redraw the boundaries of a life."--American Short Fiction "Brinkley's debut collection, A Lucky Man, comprised of tenderly poignant narratives of boys becoming men, of fractured intimacy, of masculinity as learned performance, is vital and necessary."--The Masters Review "An assured debut collection. . . . It's difficult to single out any story as most outstanding since they are each distinguished by Brinkley's lyrical invention, precise descriptions of both emotional and physical terrain, and a prevailing compassion toward people as bemused by travail as they are taken aback by whatever epiphanies blossom before them. A major talent."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review "With this memorable collection, Brinkley emerges as a gifted and empathetic new writer."--Booklist, starred review "The nine stories in Brinkley's promising debut address persistent issues of race, class, and masculinity across three decades of New York City's history. . . . Brinkley's stories offer penetrating perspectives and stirring tragedies."--Publishers Weekly

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