This evening the Joppa Evening Discussion Group will be discussing Sons of Fortune by Jeffrey Archer. Joppa Group, I would love for you to leave a comment on this blog on how your discussion went and what you thought of the book!
Sons of Fortune was published in 2003
This is what Publisher’s Weekly 01/13/2003 said about it:
“Veteran novelist and British politician Archer (Kane and Abel) is currently serving a prison sentence for perjury, so readers can perhaps forgive him if this latest effort falls short of his usual standard. The implausibly plotted novel follows fraternal twin boys separated at birth by a bizarre set of circumstances. Nat Cartwright and Fletcher Davenport are born in Hartford, Conn., in the early 1950s. A meddlesome nurse sends them home with different families. Nat is raised in a lower-middle-class household, attends the University of Connecticut, serves heroically in Vietnam and goes into banking. Fletcher, the wealthy Yalie, becomes a lawyer and a politician. The men are repeatedly thrown into competition with each other, whether for admission to college or in their professional lives, their rivalry culminating when they both run for governor of their home state. The characters are too thin, and their respective worlds too littered with cliches, to offer a satisfying portrait of the baby boomer generation. Contrived plot twists offer little distraction, while the dialogue sometimes reads like a set of photo captions-information without emotion. “When you think about it, they are the obvious predator,” says Nat about a takeover threat. “Fairchild’s is the largest bank in the state; seventy-one branches with almost no serious rivals.” Archer is usually a skillful storyteller, but he drops the ball here. Forecast: Archer, who has had to resign from political office three times because of financial and sexual scandals, usually draws reliable sales, but this weak offering may break the mold.”
“Much of Archer’s popularity stems from his skill as a storyteller.”
Would you agree that Archer drops the ball on this one?
Was the story weak? Were you, perhaps, drawn in by the rivalry of the twins, despite what the reviewer said?
“Though plot trumps characterization, Archer has created compelling and memorable characters..”
“Details fill all his novels.”
What do you think of the portrait of the baby boomer generation that Archer draws?
“Complex tales, filled with plot twists galore, fuel his novels.”
Is there an element of inevitability in the story despite the plot twists. Do you think this is deliberate or just weak storytelling?
“…action-packed tales of good versus evil, in which virtue is inevitably rewarded.”
Other books about twins:
When drug addict Emily Kenmore is found with her neck slashed in her Seattle condo, Ben Dafoe, a doctor at a local hospital who’s worked as a police consultant, chooses not to tell the cops that he was once secretly engaged to Emily or that he had threatened the unidentified dead man found with her for supplying her habit. The discovery of Dafoe’s rare blood type at the scene of the double homicide prompts him to flee to Canada, in search of his twin brother, Aaron, a chronic drug user who shares the same blood type. Dafoe had believed Aaron had been dead for two years, but now suspects he’s still alive.
The thrilling tale of a woman plunged into a world of scandal and shocking secrets as she searches for her missing twin sister.
William Moreland, the 47-year-old New York psychoanalyst at the center of Harrison’s sixth novel, has a family that’s awash in betrayals. Will’s father, a retired veterinarian turned photographer, is having an affair with the owner of his gallery. Will’s brother, Mitchell, a long-distance swimmer with “a name as recognizable as that of, say, Lance Armstrong or Tiger Woods,” is estranged from the family. And ever since Will’s 12-year-old son died three years ago in a boating accident, his wife, Carole, has been emotionally and sexually distant. All these wounds pucker open when Will attends his college reunion and runs into a statuesque ex-girlfriend who left him 25 years ago when she may or may not have been pregnant with his child. That past betrayal becomes entangled with the others in Will’s life and leads to further transgressions and revelations.