Friday Black (Paperback)
The sharpest social critique in masterful short stories, Friday Black dives deep into the dehumanizing forces of racism and consumerism in American culture. Adjei-Brenyah pulls the reader in, down into those too-real depths, challenging us to recognize our world -- complete with insidious violence and glimmers of hope. These are stories for fans of George Saunders, but told from the heart of African American experience today.— From Trista
June 2019 Rise Book Club reading group selection— From Rise Book Club
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.
“An unbelievable debut, one that announces a new and necessary American voice.”—New York Times Book Review
“An excitement and a wonder: strange, crazed, urgent and funny.”—George Saunders
A National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree, chosen by Colson Whitehead
Winner of the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle's John Leonard Award for Best First Book
NANA KWAME ADJEI-BRENYAH is the New York Times-bestselling author of Friday Black. Originally from Spring Valley, New York, he graduated from SUNY Albany and went on to receive his MFA from Syracuse University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming from numerous publications, including the New York Times Book Review, Esquire, Literary Hub, the Paris Review, Guernica, and Longreads. He was selected by Colson Whitehead as one of the National Book Foundation's “5 Under 35” honorees, is the winner of the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award for Best First Book and the Aspen Words Literary Prize.
Praise for Friday Black INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Named a Best Book by: New York Times, TIME, Elle, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, Guardian, BuzzFeed, Newsweek,Harper’s Bazaar, Nylon, Boston Globe, Southern Living, O, the Oprah Magazine,Chicago Tribune, The Verge, The Root,Vulture, Philadelphia Inquirer, The Millions, New York Observer, Literary Hub, Color Lines,PopSugar, PEN America, The Rumpus, BookPage,St. Louis Post-Dispatch,the CBC, Longreads,Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Library Journal, The Big Issue, Chicago Public Library, My Domaine, Locus Magazine,Bookish, Read It Forward,Entropy Magazine, WAMC, Hudson Booksellers, and The Seattle Review of Books One of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” honorees, chosen by Colson Whitehead Winner of the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award Winner of the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing in Fiction Winner of the Rockland Arts Council's Literary Artist Award One of the New York Times' 100 Notable Books of 2018 Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle's John Leonard Award for Best First Book Finalist for the Aspen Words Literary Prize Finalist for the Dylan Thomas Prize Finalist for the American Booksellers Association's Indie Choice Book Awards Finalist for the New England Book Awards Finalist for the John Gardner Award for Fiction Finalist for the Balcones Fiction Prize An Indie Next Pick Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal of Excellence in Fiction Longlisted for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award A National Indie Bestseller A Los Angeles Times Bestseller A Boston Globe Bestseller A New York Times Editors' Choice A 2019 Notable Book from the American Library Association “A powerful and important and strange and beautiful collection of stories . . . An unbelievable debut, one that announces a new and necessary American voice . . . A dystopian story collection as full of violence as it is of heart. To achieve such an honest pairing of gore with tenderness is no small feat . . . Violence is only gratuitous when it serves no purpose, and throughout Friday Black we are aware that the violence is crucially related to both what is happening in America now, and what happened in its bloody and brutal history . . . In smart, terse prose, Adjei-Brenyah is unflinching, and willing, in most of these 12 stories, to leave us without any apparent hope. But the hope is there—or if it isn’t hope, it’s maybe something better: levelheaded, compassionate protagonists, with just enough integrity and ambivalence that they never feel sentimental. Each of these individuals carries a subtle clarity about what matters most when nothing makes sense in these strange and brutal worlds he builds . . . Adjei-Brenyah’s voice here is as powerful and original as Saunders’s is throughout Tenth of December . . . [Adjei-Brenyah] is here to signal a warning, or perhaps just to say this is what it feels like, in stories that move and breathe and explode on the page. In Friday Black, the dystopian future Adjei-Brenyah depicts&mdash —