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
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 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award
An Indie Next Pick
Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal of Excellence in Fiction
Longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize
Longlisted for the Aspen Words Literary Prize
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—like all great dystopian fiction—is bleakly futuristic only on its surface. At its center, each story—sharp as a knife—points to right now.”
—Tommy Orange, New York Times Book Review
“Strange, dark and sometimes unnervingly funny . . . The [titular] story is a not-so-subtle critique of consumerism run amok. But like all effective satire, there’s a glint of truth and accumulation of mundane details that make the farcical scenario feel plausible . . . [Friday Black] uses fantasy and scorching satire to tackle issues like school shootings, abortion, racism, the callowness of commercialism, and how cyclical violence can be passed on across generations . . . Adjei-Brenyah renders prosaic scenarios unfamiliar by adding a surreal, disorienting twist.”
—Alexandra Alter, The New York Times
"I can't remember the last book that has moved, unsettled, inspired me the way Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah's Friday Black did. From challenging the reader's unconscious biases through a narrator who rates his "Blackness" on a 1-10 scale, to creating a semi-speculative thought experiment in which racism is treated as a cultural pastime, these are stories in which the satirical humor cuts as deep as its gritty violence."
—Lauren Christensen, The New York Times
"Impressive...There's enormous talent on display in Friday Black."
—Wall Street Journal
“This pitch-dark, brutal, occasionally—mercifully!—funny collection of stories takes on the insidious nature of racism and the horrors of capitalism in equal measure and somehow ends up hopeful on the other side. Friday Black is enraging, it’s inventive . . . Much like living through this year, the experience of reading Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s debut can be harrowing, but it’s ultimately a pleasure to be in the company of a new voice as exciting as this.”
"In this vivid, original story collection, Adjei-Brenyah presents America in all its racism, weirdness and abject consumerism."
"Surreal, sobering, and tender all at once, this debut collection shines a laser-sharp light on the experience of being black in today's America."
“Fearless...[A] major literary debut . . . Unnervingly unpredictable . . . Friday Black ought to land as publishing’s definitive addition to an exciting pop culture trend: new black surrealism. Films such as Get Out and Sorry to Bother You, or Donald Glover projects like Atlanta and “This Is America,” derive political power from a kind of absurdist framing, which this book shares . . . Adjei-Brenyah executes his premises with an elegant Black Mirror-like realism...In their gnarly intensity, their polemical potency, they hit us where we live, here and now. Sometimes it takes a wild mind to speak the plainest truth.”
"Adjei-Brenyah’s surreal, dystopian Friday Black is 2018's avant-garde darling."
—Entertainment Weekly, "The Oscars of the Book World"
“One of the most anticipated literary debuts of the fall, Friday Black veers between the surreal and the satirical in its bold take on being young and black in America.”
—Entertainment Weekly, Most Anticipated Books of October
“[A] knockout . . . illuminate[s] unsettling truths about the world.”
“Like Kurt Vonnegut, the debut author introduces readers to worlds adjacent to our reality. They’re familiar enough for us to recognize ourselves within them—until Adjei-Brenyah takes the tough-to-stomach parts of humanity to extremes, like Black Friday shoppers turning into violent, materialistic murderers. The stories wrestle with racism, mob mentality, police violence, and unrestrained consumerism. They’re quick to read, and incredibly hard to forget.”