BOOKER PRIZE FINALIST • Based on a true event, this novel is “a blues song cut straight from the heart … about the unjust death of an innocent Black man caught up in a corrupt system” (Walter Mosley, best-selling author of Devil in a Blue Dress).
In Cardiff, Wales in 1952, Mahmood Mattan, a young Somali sailor, is accused of a crime he did not commit: the brutal killing of Violet Volacki, a shopkeeper from Tiger Bay. At first, Mahmood believes he can ignore the fingers pointing his way; he may be a gambler and a petty thief, but he is no murderer. He is a father of three, secure in his innocence and his belief in British justice.
But as the trial draws closer, his prospect for freedom dwindles. Now, Mahmood must stage a terrifying fight for his life, with all the chips stacked against him: a shoddy investigation, an inhumane legal system, and, most evidently, pervasive and deep-rooted racism at every step.
Under the shadow of the hangman’s noose, Mahmood begins to realize that even the truth may not be enough to save him. A haunting tale of miscarried justice, this book offers a chilling look at the dark corners of our humanity.
Nadifa Mohamed was born in 1981 in Hargeisa, Somaliland. At the age of four she moved with her family to London. She is the author of Black Mamba Boy and The Orchard of Lost Souls. She has received both The Betty Trask Award and the Somerset Maugham Award, and in 2013, she was named as one of Granta‘s Best of Young British Novelists. Her work appears regularly in The Guardian and the BBC. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, she lives in London.
BOOKER PRIZE FINALIST • A COSTA BOOK AWARD NOMINEE • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: THE GUARDIAN AND THE NEW YORKER
“A potent, pointed novel . . . Mohamed is a big talent, and she’s only getting started.” -- Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“Equally informative and moving . . . The immediate allure of the novel is the vibrancy of Mohamed’s prose, her ability to capture the complicated culture of Cardiff and the sound of tortured optimism. . . . The horrific finale of The Fortune Men is never in doubt, but for more than 200 pages Mohamed still creates a sharp sense of suspense by pulling us right into Mahmood’s world as his life tilts and then crashes. . . . There’s a natural grandeur to her portrayal of this ordinary man caught in the city’s gears. Readers will hear echoes of Dostoevsky and Kafka in her re-creation of this nightmare. . . . With The Fortune Men, Mohamed has given us a clear vision of so many victims caught in the maw of racist legal systems.” -- Ron Charles, The Washington Post
“Brilliantly depicts the complexities of community within the Black diaspora . . . Mohamed balances colonial history and violence with the evocative interior lives of Mahmood and Violet Volacki. . . . After Mahmood’s arrest, the novel shifts its focus to the British criminal justice system, providing a visceral account of the protagonist’s carceral experience. . . . Mohamed manages such tender detail even while zooming out on the British prison and court systems more broadly.” -- Nicole R. Fleetwood, The New York Times
“Searing . . . Mohamed maintains a high level of tension as the tragedy slowly unfolds. . . . This is a powerful portrayal of an innocent man trapped by a racist system that will resonate with readers familiar with such travesties of justice in the U.S.” -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
[H] Knopf Publishing Group / December 14, 2021
1.4" H x 9.4" L x 6.5" W (1.35 lbs) 320 pages
[P] Vintage / November 01, 2022
0.68" H x 7.91" L x 5.27" W (0.51 lbs) 320 pages