The Fortune Men is the third novel by Nadifa Mohamed. It’s the fictional account of a historic miscarriage of junction that took place in Tiger Bay, Cardiff, Wales in 1952. It was set against the backdrop of the passing of George VI and the coronation of Elizabeth II.
It tells the story of Mahmoud Mattan, a Somali sailor who was arrested and charged with the murder of a local shopkeeper, Violet Volacki. The rationale for his arrest and subsequent trial was that witnesses said they saw a Somali man in the vicinity.
Reading about the rich diversity in Cardiff, characters came from an array of backgrounds, and it was nice to see this in a book set outside London, despite the subject matter.
As a 2021 reader, it is sad to say that we still live in a time when a Black man could be found guilty of a crime he did not commit, purely based on the colour of his skin. Thankfully, however, due to the abolition of the death penalty in Britain in 1965 this would no longer result in someone legally losing their life, despite being innocent.
***Thank you Netgalley and Penguin for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.***
For the purpose of my 2021 reading challenge, The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed fulfils the read a historical fiction with a POC or LGBTQ+ protagonist in the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge.
The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed is available from your usual retailers now.