In the nine unforgettable stories of A Lucky Man, Jamel Brinkley explores the unseen tenderness of black men and boys: the struggle to love and be loved, the invisible ties of family and friendship, and the inescapable forces of race, class and masculinity.
A teen intent on proving himself a man at an all-night rave is preoccupied by watching out for his impressionable younger brother. A pair of young men who follow two girls home from a party face the uncomfortable truth of their desires. An imaginative boy from the inner city goes swimming in the suburbs, and faces the effects of privilege in ways he can barely grasp. And at a capoeira conference, two brothers grapple with their painful family history.
Moving, lyrical and keen-eyed, A Lucky Man captures the inner lives of men and boys caught between hope and expectation, duty and desire.
Jamel Brinkley‘s writing has appeared in The Best American Short Stories 2018, A Public Space, Tin House and elsewhere. He was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the 2018 Ernest J. Gaines Award. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he is currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Fiction at Stanford University and lives in California. A Lucky Man is his first book.
Read: On Writing a Short Story: ‘Everything is Always Happening, All the Time.’ Brandon Taylor, LitHub
Review: A Lucky Man, Chris Power, The White Review
Prompt: Write about your sixteen-year-old self as if it were someone else. Now put your old self into an uncomfortable situation where you face current fear. Write freely for 3 paragraphs.