Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

A Lucky Man

Jamel Brinkley
In the nine expansive, searching stories of A Lucky Man, fathers and sons attempt to salvage relationships with friends and family members and confront mistakes made in the past. An imaginative young boy from the Bronx goes swimming with his group from day camp at a backyard pool in the suburbs, and faces the effects of power and privilege in ways he can barely grasp. A teen intent on proving himself a man through the all-night revel of J’ouvert can’t help but look out for his impressionable younger brother. A pair of college boys on the prowl follow two girls home from a party and have to own the uncomfortable truth of their desires. And at a capoeira conference, two brothers grapple with how to tell the story of their family, caught in the dance of their painful, fractured history.

Jamel Brinkley’s stories, in a debut that announces the arrival of a significant new voice, reflect the tenderness and vulnerability of black men and boys whose hopes sometimes betray them, especially in a world shaped by race, gender, and class—where luck may be the greatest fiction of all.

Share Title

Publication Date
Trim Size
6 x 9
“This is the rare debut that introduces not a promising talent but a major writer, fully formed”—Garth Greenwell

About the Author

Jamel  Brinkley
Credit: Arash Saedinia
Jamel Brinkley is a graduate of Columbia University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has received fellowships from Kimbilio Fiction, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and Stanford University. A Lucky Man is his first book. He lives in California.
More by author

Upcoming Events

Jamel Brinkley reading at Kepler's Books as part of Story is the Thing Reading Series

Kepler's Books in Menlo Park, CAview map
Reading with Jeanne Althouse, Tsun Yuan Chen, Andrea Donderi, D. Wystan Owen, and Kathy Wang. Light refreshments and conversation at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $12.

Jamel Brinkley reading at Amherst College as part of National Book Awards on Campus

Amherst College in Amherst, MAview map
In conversation with Brandon Hobson. Hosted by Rebecca Carroll. Location: Johnson Chapel.


  • “Each story is a trenchant exploration of race and class, vividly conveying the tension between social codes of masculinity and the vulnerable, volatile self.”The New Yorker
  • “[A Lucky Man] may include only nine stories, but in each of them, Brinkley gives us an entire world.”—
  • “The stories hit with a silent thunder that reverberates within you long after you’ve finished them.”San Francisco Chronicle
  • “Brinkley’s collection A Lucky Man, already creating waves within the literary sphere, manages to be simultaneously polemical and immersive, in a series of tenderly insightful studies of masculinity, race, and the scars of history.”Entertainment Weekly
Back to Table of Contents