The Fortune Follies
by Catori Sarmiento
Double Dragon Publishing

"Funny that. Being replaced by the thing I'm paid to make."

Intrigue, violence, and action will keep the readers' attention as they devour this novel, a book which gives an alternate history of the United States after World War II. Sarmiento's imagination is unparalleled as it spills out onto the page, telling the story of cousins of Japanese ancestry trying to adapt and make their way in a world where discrimination, gangs, and Big Brother lurk on every street corner or overhead.

The author is highly skilled at writing with descriptive detail that keeps readers spellbound. For example, after an earthquake collapses a building, Penny Morgan tries to free her grandfather from a pile of rubble but is unable to do so because his arm is crushed under a slab of concrete. Sarmiento then describes the severing of the arm: "Hoping he is too delirious to notice, she touches the axe blade to his arm, lining it . . . she presses it into his flesh, driving it down." Likewise, the author successfully gives readers the feeling of our privacy being invaded when describing Seattle life as being monitored at all times: "Don't you know? The balloons . . . they have cameras and recorders."

But it isn't all violence and action; the book takes us into the Japanese internment camps during WWII. The author sympathetically depicts the unimaginable desperation felt by many Japanese people during their internment, deftly taking readers into the camps with them. Beneath the fast-paced plot, readers are guided to think more deeply about family loyalties, bonds, and boundaries. Are there any, or is it human nature to do whatever it takes to survive individually? Every good book leaves readers with food for thought, and Sarmiento's audience is left with a lot to think about here.

Return to USR Home