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Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
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Friday Black (edition 2018)

by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Author)

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2872260,636 (4.04)50
"An excitement and a wonder: strange, crazed, urgent and funny...The wildly talented Adjei-Brenyah has made these edgy tales immensely charming, via his resolute, heartful, immensely likeable narrators, capable of seeing the world as blessed and cursed at once." -- George Saunders "This book is dark and captivating and essential...A call to arms and a condemnation. Adjei-Brenyah offers powerful prose as parable. The writing in this outstanding collection will make you hurt and demand your hope. Read this book." -- Roxane Gay A piercingly raw debut story collection from a young writer with an explosive voice; a treacherously surreal, and, at times, heartbreakingly satirical look at what it's like to be young and black in America. From the start of this extraordinary debut, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah's writing will grab you, haunt you, enrage and invigorate you. By placing ordinary characters in extraordinary situations, Adjei-Brenyah reveals the violence, injustice, and painful absurdities that black men and women contend with every day in this country. These stories tackle urgent instances of racism and cultural unrest, and explore the many ways we fight for humanity in an unforgiving world. In "The Finkelstein Five," Adjei-Brenyah gives us an unforgettable reckoning of the brutal prejudice of our justice system. In "Zimmer Land," we see a far-too-easy-to-believe imagining of racism as sport. And "Friday Black" and "How to Sell a Jacket as Told by Ice King" show the horrors of consumerism and the toll it takes on us all. Entirely fresh in its style and perspective, and sure to appeal to fans of Colson Whitehead, Marlon James, and George Saunders, Friday Black confronts readers with a complicated, insistent, wrenching chorus of emotions, the final note of which, remarkably, is hope.… (more)
Member:ohlonelibrary
Title:Friday Black
Authors:Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Author)
Info:Mariner Books (2018), Edition: First Edition, 208 pages
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Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
An uneven collection, overly hyped. Where it is good, it is very very good (Things My Mother Said; Zimmer Land; In Retail). But not every story is of this quality. What shines through for me is the humanism of the author's perspective, striving to see the positive, seeking change where no change seems possible. I'd recommend reading this certainly, but i look forward even more to see what Adjei-Brenyah produces in the future, works that sit longer and ferment into a more potent brew. ( )
  TomMcGreevy | Sep 6, 2019 |
These twelve dystopian stories of rage and violence in possibly present and assuredly future-time America center around well-deserved vengeance against the prevailing violent white culture. Two of the most heartfelt take place at the Prominent Mall, where shoppers kill clerks and each other for SleekPack PoleFace SuperShell coats. In others, twin fetuses haunt the couple who aborted them, a nuclear disaster replays endlessly in a Groundhog Day-type loop, and a performer at a Westworld-type amusement park revolts when the facility opens to children. Each story is based on a horrible American fantasy or reality we know - the author just makes them that much worse and transparent with his passionate yet controlled writing. In each situation, the narrator tries to inject kindness and, thwarted, saves him or herself and whomever else they can. As terrible as each circumstance is, the interior thoughts and dialogue motivates the reader to see what can be salvaged and if there is any grace to be found.

Quote: "I'd become a devotee to a religion of my own creation. Its most integral ritual was maintaining a precise calm especially when angry, when hurt, when terrified." ( )
  froxgirl | Sep 1, 2019 |
This book was almost too sharp to hold. Terrible in the best way, it takes the absurdities of white supremacy and capitalism and twists, keeps twisting your insides until you feel unsteady. It forces you to ask yourself terrible questions that you already know the answer to: What meaning do consequences have when there are no tomorrows? How can we survive in a world that's bent on forcing us to become numb to our own bodies and feelings? What does it look like when your guilt has a physical form? What if violence as retribution became a choice for Black America? Why don't we stop pretending that white violence has consequence? When capitalism consumes us, what is left? ( )
  schufman | Jul 20, 2019 |
Friday Black received a lot of attention and appeared on several "best books of 2018" lists. So as someone who likes short stories and is a sucker for a good book list, I picked up a copy. It really is as good as the hype makes it out to be. The first story, The Finkelstein 5, hits with all the force of a chain saw swung through the air and then immediately follows with an entirely different, but also powerful story called Things My Mother Said.

Many of the stories are set in versions of a dystopian future America and concern events like a Black Friday sale gone violent, a man who works for a company that provides people to engage in live action role-play involving seeing a strange black guy in your neighborhood and a bleak, apocalyptic tale of people having to return to a specific time and place over and over again.

I was impressed with this collection and I look forward to reading more by Adjei-Brenyah. ( )
  RidgewayGirl | Jul 17, 2019 |
Friday Black is an impressive début collection of short stories set in a dystopian version of contemporary America, which touches on race, what it means to be an African American man in this country, and the consumer driven culture we live in. The first story, 'The Finkelstein 5', is narrated by a young man who can adjust his blackness level to fit his dress, attitude and emotional state, who is outraged by the verdict of a trial involving five young black kids and a white man and struggles to balance his rage with his responsibilities. In 'Lark Street', a young man who has gotten his girlfriend pregnant is forced to face the consequences of their decision to abort the pregnancy, in a wholly unexpected manner. 'Zimmer Land' is narrated by another young man who works in a virtual reality amusement park, where he portrays a black man who walks in an unfamiliar neighborhood and is confronted by an offended and usually armed resident who challenges his right to be there. The title story is a brilliant and hilarious parody set in the early morning hours on Black Friday in a suburban shopping mall, as store employees face a crazed mob who will bite, maim and even kill their competitors and the staff for a PoleFace winter jacket or other item that will ensure the continued love of a spouse or child on Christmas Day.

The best of the short stories in Friday Black are amongst the best and most unique ones I've ever read, as Adjei-Brenyah has his pulse firmly on the contradictions and absurdities of American society. The remaining stories are good ones, but pale in comparison to the best of them. Friday Black is a superb and highly entertaining book, which is deserving of the high praise and recognition it has received. ( )
4 vote kidzdoc | Jun 26, 2019 |
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Anything you can imagine you possess.
-KENDRICK LAMAR
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Fela, the headless girl, walked towards Emmanuel.
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