The Fortunate Ones - book cover
  • Publisher : Algonquin Books
  • Published : 05 Oct 2021
  • Pages : 336
  • ISBN-10 : 1643752006
  • ISBN-13 : 9781643752006
  • Language : English

The Fortunate Ones

The perfect read for fans of Succession or The White Lotus

"As a novelist, Tarkington is the real deal. I can't wait to see this story reach a wide audience."

-Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife

When Charlie Boykin was young, he thought his life with his single mother on the working-class side of Nashville was perfectly fine. But when his mother arranges for him to be admitted as a scholarship student to an elite private school, he is suddenly introduced to what the world can feel like to someone cushioned by money. That world, he discovers, is an almost irresistible place where one can bend-and break-rules and still end up untarnished. As he gets drawn into a friendship with a charismatic upperclassman, Archer Creigh, and an affluent family that treats him like an adopted son, Charlie quickly adapts to life in the upper echelons of Nashville society. Under their charming and alcohol-soaked spell, how can he not relax and enjoy it all-the lack of anxiety over money, the easy summers spent poolside at perfectly appointed mansions, the lavish parties, the freedom to make mistakes knowing that everything can be glossed over or fixed?
But over time, Charlie is increasingly pulled into covering for Archer's constant deceits and his casual bigotry. At what point will the attraction of wealth and prestige wear off enough for Charlie to take a stand-and will he?
For readers of Wiley Cash, Ann Patchett, and Pat Conroy, The Fortunate Ones is an immersive, elegantly written story that conveys both the seductiveness of this world and the corruption of the people who see their ascent to the top as their birthright. 

Editorial Reviews

"Ed Tarkington's wonderful second novel, The Fortunate Ones, feels like a fresh and remarkably sure-footed take on The Great Gatsby, examining the complex costs of attempting to transcend or exchange your given class for a more gilded one. Tarkington's understanding of the human heart and mind is deep, wise and uncommonly empathetic. As a novelist, he is the real deal. I can't wait to see this story reach a wide audience, and to see what he does next."
-Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife and Love and Ruin

"There's a sharpness to Ed Tarkington's view of the world, an exacting truthfulness of how things work, but he marries it to such an open-hearted and resonant humanity in his writing that it's hard not to place him easily in the company of Pat Conroy and Alice McDermott. In The Fortunate Ones, Tarkington examines privilege and friendship with that same incredible perspective, and he helps us see the difficulties of trying to hold onto yourself even as you want so badly to be transformed. An amazing, thought-provoking novel by one of our most generous writers."
-Kevin Wilson, author of Nothing to See Here

"The Fortunate Ones has echoes of Gatsby . . . Tarkington [is] a talented and compassionate writer . . . [and] aspects of The Fortunate Ones echo a slew of classic novels, including As I Lay Dying, A Separate Peace, The Moviegoer, and Big Fish . . . Tarkington's insight into the meaning of home rings true."
-The Washington Post

"Readers who love a good wallow in the Southern Gothic steam bath of a Pat Conroy novel (The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini) are always ready to investigate a possible literary heir. The Fortunate Ones by Ed Tarkington, set in Nashville through the 1980s and '90s, bears all the markings of this lineage."
-Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Tarkington's prose glows like the sun hitting the chlorine-scented pool chairs lining the lush backyards . . . [H]is portrayals of quirky teachers, black tie galas and mysterious benefactors are biting and real. The Fortunate Ones is filled with good characters behaving badly, and vice-versa, perhaps best articulated by Charlie's thoughts on his landmark painting: ‘I wanted it to express a feeling, an emotion I considered to be complex-the juxtaposition of allure and revulsion, guilt and desire, remorse and indifference.' Tarkington succeeds, reminding the reader that the South is never perfect and privilege will always have a price."
-Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"A gorgeous, deep probing treatise on the myriad manifestations of love, envy, privile...

Readers Top Reviews

Interesting social commentary. A few surprises here and there to keep the book interesting. Easy read. Can probably finish it in a day
I loved Only Love Can Break Your Heart so much. I really didn’t think there could be another book from Ed that I’d love as much. But, I do. I finished both books with tears in my eyes. So, so good.
Mari LaBelle
Congratulations Mr. Darlington,you have written an excellent book, full of surprises and, if the characters aren't likeable, they are certainly VERY relatable . I really hope this book receives the attention it deserves. Personally, I'll be recommending it to all the readers I know.
Avid Reader
Beautifully written book that examines the complexities of wealth, privilege, politics and relationships. There are no heroes and no true villains, but rather a group of flawed individuals (some more than others) whose intertwined lives and drama make for an incredible page turner.
Thoughtful, entertaining, with unexpected twists and turns. About good fortune, rich expereinces, growth, pain and loss. Kudos to this author. Liked this book so much I read his other book "Only Love Can Break Your Heart," which has all the same qualities.

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