Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £25.99

Buy Now for £25.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2021 and the Costa Novel Award 2021.

The story of a murder, a miscarriage of justice and a man too innocent for his times....

Mahmood Mattan is a fixture in Cardiff's Tiger Bay, 1952, which bustles with Somali and West Indian sailors, Maltese businessmen and Jewish families. He is a father, chancer, petty criminal. He is a smooth talker with rakish charm and an eye for a good game. He is many things, but he is not a murderer.

So when a shopkeeper is brutally killed and all eyes fall on him, Mahmood isn't too worried. Since his Welsh wife Laura kicked him out for racking up debts he has wandered the streets more often, and there are witnesses who allegedly saw him enter the shop that night. But Mahmood has escaped worse scrapes, and he is innocent in this country where justice is served. Love lends him immunity too: the fierce love of Laura, who forgives his gambling in a heartbeat, and his children. It is only in the run-up to the trial, as the prospect of returning home dwindles, that it will dawn on Mahmood that he is in a fight for his life - against conspiracy, prejudice and cruelty - and that the truth may not be enough to save him.

©2021 Nadifa Mohamed (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"Chilling and utterly compelling, The Fortune Men shines an essential light on a much-neglected period of our national life." (Sathnam Sanghera, author of Empireland)

"A writer of great humanity and intelligence. Nadifa Mohamed deeply understands how lives are shaped both by the grand sweep of history and the intimate encounters of human beings." (Kamila Shamsie, author of Home Fire)

"A novel of tremendous power, compassion and subtlety, it feels unsettlingly timely." (Pankaj Mishra)

What listeners say about The Fortune Men

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    86
  • 4 Stars
    36
  • 3 Stars
    20
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    80
  • 4 Stars
    32
  • 3 Stars
    13
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    5
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    90
  • 4 Stars
    26
  • 3 Stars
    16
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic novel, poor narration

AN AMAZING STORY - VERY WELL WRITTEN. However, an awful audio book.

This novel was nearly spoilt for me by the awful accents of the narrator. His “Welsh” accent is an appalling mix of Indian subcontinent and 1970s BBC Comedy accent. It bears no resemblance to any Welsh accent I have heard & is nothing like a Cardiff nor Valley accent.

So poor and off putting was this, that I had to buy the book to enable me to finish this wonderful novel.

Come on Audible/Penguin, stop allowing these tiresome pastiche accents in your audio books. It’s ironic that a book about racism has total disregard for another country/culture/heritage.

Shame on you.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic Novel

Absolutely loved this book. Brilliantly performed and so vividly brought to life. Nadifa has created/built-upon the most nuanced, most detailed realising of a character that I have read in many years. Highly recommended.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Immersive and moving

Already shortlisted, this must surely be a real contender for the Man Booker Prize.

I can't profess to find enjoyable a fictionalised account of a historical miscarriage of justice, but I am most certainly glad to have read this exceptionally well written book. Right from the start I was transported to the Tiger Bay of 1952, a world away from the current Cardiff Bay. All the characters seemed real and credible and the main ones were sufficiently well developed to make me feel for them, so that some events, such as the murder itself, had me silently screaming "no, no, no" as I listened. This bond with the characters is surely particularly important when the general course of events is clear from the outset and I liked Nadifa Mohammed's method of establishing it, beginning the story before the murder took place and using multiple viewpoints, since this meant that I was familiar with the victim, Violet, and her family, as well as Mahmood and his estranged wife, Laura.

I particularly recommend the audiobook, masterfully read by Hugh Quarshie, who differentiates clearly between the characters, using a variety of accents and voices to successfully represent both male and female characters of different nationalities.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent story...Read the book version!

Whilst I found the story based on a miscarriage of justice very absorbing using court transcripts etc...
The narration! well what to say!... the Somali and most! of the accents sounded pleasingly authentic... however given that the novel plotline is set in Wales and lots of the characters are Welsh..I am surprised that no narrator, who could master Welsh dialects for this required novel could not be found. The Welsh dialect was appalling and at times really did detract from the evolving story of this poor, doomed, loving father and husband Somali man.
A travesty of justice and so tragic for his wife and 3 sons also...

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Such a great listen

I picked this book because it was nominated for an award and I can completely see why. It is such a great story which really makes you think about what it would have been like to be a Somalian living in Britain in the mid 20th century. A story is always at its best when it allows you to comprehend life from someone else's perspective.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A remarkable novel.

Hugh Quarshie takes you right to the heart of the story,
A story about racism, intolerance, injustice, humour irony and survival all wonderfully constructed.
What a skill to be able to write something like this.
I thoroughly enjoyed it-I think you will too.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • NW
  • 15-10-21

I'm buying the book instead

The story seems really good but the narration is truly terrible. The Welsh accents are the worst I've heard in an audio book, making this unlistenable. I've returned it and will buy the book to read instead.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Historical miscarriage of justice

A narrative set in post war Tiger Bay. The story explores the lives of the multicutural community and the experiences of the Somali sailors in a racist society

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Narrator butchers the key Somali phrases

People are annoyed by the Welsh accent, it is at least recognisable. It took me a while to figure out some words he was saying are actually Somali words. How can a narrator be chosen to read a book by a Somali author, about a man from Somalia and the book has many phrases in Somali language but the narrator does not bother to even Google and know that 'X' is actually pronounced as an 'H'??? I've stopped halfway and trying to push myself to finish it. If my life was less hectic I'd read the book, but audible is everything until that day I have time to sit with a book and finish it in decent amount of time. I found this a lazy choice that does not do the book justice, his voice is easy to listen to but we wouldn't have it if a narrator read French words and pronounced every single letter in a word, this is that bad.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Is Every Woman A Four Year Old Girl?

I appreciate the book and the story it tells, but my experience of it was completely ruined by the narrator. He has a beautiful and soothing voice, however, every time a woman talks, he speaks in this annoyingly fake, high-pitch voice. He made every single one of them sound like a four year old girl. While I'm sure we can all learn certain things from four year old girls, seemingly equalling every adult woman in this book to one did not agree with me. It also made me wonder, is that how the narrator perceives women? I hope not! It drove me crazy throughout the whole book, even more so after the part where one of the women was actually described as having a 'deep voice'... And, as most of the women were Welsh, he also put on a terrible, weirdly slow and drawn out Welsh accent, which made it even worse.