Friday black / Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah.

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    • Abstract:
      Summary: "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.
    • Content Notes:
      The Finkelstein 5 -- Things my mother said -- The era -- Lark Street -- The hospital where -- Zimmer Land -- Friday black -- The lion & the spider -- Light spitter -- How to sell a jacket as told by IceKing -- In retail -- Through the flash.
    • Notes:
      "A Mariner Original"--Title page.
    • Other Titles:
      Short stories. Selections
    • ISBN:
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Booklist Reviews 2018 September #1

*Starred Review* Adjei-Brenyah's dozen stories are disturbingly spectacular, made even more so for what he does with magnifying and exposing the truth. At first read, the collection might register as speculative fiction, but current headlines unmasking racism, injustice, consumerism, and senseless violence prove to be clear inspirations. Adjei-Brenyah grabs immediate attention with "The Finkelstein 5," in which a white man uses "a chain saw to hack off the heads of five black children" outside a South Carolina library. His acquittal sparks revenge attacks, eventually luring the story's protagonist, a teenager who works hard to keep his "Blackness" in the lowest digits on a 10-point scale, to further tragedy. Hate crimes become actual entertainment in "Zimmer Land," in which clients pay for "interactive justice engagement" in a race-based-murder-theme-park.? "Friday Black" exaggerates Black Friday shopping mania into a casual blood-sport, while shopping becomes a year-round battlefield in the related "How to Sell a Jacket as Told by IceKing." A teen meets the twin fetuses his girlfriend aborted in "Lark Street," and tortuous death and revival form a relentless cycle in "Through the Flash." Ominous and threatening, Adjei-Brenyah's debut is a resonating wake-up call to redefine and reclaim what remains of our humanity. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2018 May #1

A George Saunders protégé whose short stories have won awards, Adjei-Brenyah publishes a much-anticipated first collection that highlights the painful absurdities of racism by putting its characters in unexpected situations.

Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

LJ Reviews 2018 August #1

In "Zimmer Land," a core story in this edgy, much-anticipated debut collection from Breakwater Review prize winner Adjei-Brenyah, patrons at a specially designed theme park can get the visceral thrill of standing up to perceived bad guys and often pretending to kill them, thus achieving a putative sense of justice. The Wall Streeter who founded it says he was aiming for "social interconnectivity," but the park is clearly a racist, consumerist venture exploiting white fears and desire for predominance, and reading it cuts to the bone. Adjei-Brenyah's stories are like that, often using scenarios stepping just beyond reality to make us understand how ugly reality is, especially as experienced by those of color. In "The Finkelstein 5," horribly reminiscent of recent headlines, five African American children have been beheaded outside a library by a white man claiming to fear for his children's safety, prompting retaliation; the conflicted narrator explains how he adjusts his Blackness throughout the day ("his voice down to a 1.5 on a 10-point scale")—an act some readers will know from their own lives and others will shudder finally to understand. VERDICT Powerful work for a wide range of readers. [See Prepub Alert, 6/18/18.]

Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

PW Reviews 2018 July #2

Adjei-Brenyah dissects the dehumanizing effects of capitalism and racism in this debut collection of stingingly satirical stories. The arguments that exonerate a white man for brutally murdering five black children with a chainsaw in "The Finkelstein 5" highlight the absurdity of America's broken criminal justice system. "Zimmer Land" imagines a future entertainment park where players enter an augmented reality to hunt terrorists or shoot intruders played by minority actors. The title story is one of several set in a department store where the store's best salesman learns to translate the incomprehensible grunts of vicious, insatiable Black Friday shoppers. He returns in "How to Sell a Jacket as Told by IceKing" to be passed over for a promotion despite his impeccable record. Some stories take a narrower focus, such as "The Lion & the Spider," in which a high school senior has to take a demanding job to keep money flowing into his family's house after his father's disappearance. In "Light Spitter," a school shooting results in both the victim and gunman stuck in a shared purgatory. "Through the Flash" spins a dystopian Groundhog Day in which victims of an unexplained weapon relive a single day and resort to extreme violence to cope. Adjei-Brenyah has put readers on notice: his remarkable range, ingenious premises, and unflagging, momentous voice make this a first-rate collection. Agent: Meredith Kaffel Simonoff, DeFiore and Company. (Oct.)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.