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Friday Black

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  523 Ratings  ·  153 Reviews
In the stories of Adjei-Brenyah’s debut, an amusement park lets players enter augmented reality to hunt terrorists or shoot intruders played by minority actors, a school shooting results in both the victim and gunman stuck in a shared purgatory, and an author sells his soul to a many-tongued god.

Adjei-Brenyah's writing will grab you, haunt you, enrage, and invigorate you.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published October 23rd 2018 by Mariner Books
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Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
The edge of the stories in Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s debut collection Friday Black is razor sharp, ready to cut deep. This book is dark and captivating and essential. This book is a call to arms and it is 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. Marvel at the intelligence of each of these stories and what they reveal about racism, capitalism, complacency and their insidious ...more
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: usa, 2018-read
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah Is a "5 Under 35" Honoree 2018 of the National Book Foundation
..and this is how you write cutting-edge fiction about the world we live in! Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah's debut is bold, powerful, innovative, and poetic. Every other blurb is randomly claiming that the author of the respective book has a unique voice - this author actually does, and this fall, his short stories are mandatory reading.

"Friday Black" encompasses 12 stories, many of them dealing with racism, consu
Elyse Walters
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Having recently read “The Heads of The Colored People”, a terrific debut collection of 12 short stories by Nafissa Thompson-Spires — I reached for another debut collection of 12 more short stories.

First - I have Goodreads member Meike to thank. It was her review that inspired me. Thank you Meike.

I had no idea what to expect. I still can’t entirely figure out the book cover’s drawing. I have some ideas - but I’m a little curious if there is a specific meaning behind it.

I’ll dive r
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fierce and invigorating, the stories in Friday Black demand attention like a slap in the face.

This collection inhabits the ‘borderlands’ between genres, to borrow a term from Michael Chabon, sort of literary, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, maybe all-of-the-above at the same time. In one story, it’s hard to tell (in a deliberate, clever way) whether the backdrop is a zombie-infested post-apocalyptic wasteland, or just an ordinary shopping mall. Another takes a Groundhog Day scenario to violent extremes
When a story makes you cry three pages in, you know you're reading something special. 'The Finkelstein 5', the first short story in Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah's debut collection, is astounding. It follows a young man named Emmanuel as he prepares for a job interview, taking steps (modifying his voice, wearing smart clothes, smiling and being constantly polite) to ensure his Blackness is dialled down as far as possible. He's happy about the interview, but 'he also felt guilty about feeling happy ab ...more
Jessica Woodbury
FRIDAY BLACK is hard to explain. The best I can do is say that it's like if BLACK MIRROR imagined a future based on the growing horrors of racism, violence, and capitalism rather than the growing horrors of technology. This collection of stories does what really excellent sci-fi does and explores the present through the future. And yet, I feel like I'm still underselling it. I haven't quite made it clear just how reading this book is kind of like probing at a raw wound with a knife. I had to put ...more
Oct 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Named as one of the most anticipated books of Autumn 2018, Friday Black is a refreshingly original anthology of stories that use fiction as a device to explore and discuss some very prominent real-world issues, and because of that, this is a collection that is thought-provoking and with much substance to it - something that always really appeals to me.

Although the stories maintain objectivity, they are also brutally honest about the situation the world is currently in. Amongst the major real-wor
Paul Fulcher
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah was recently named in the US as one of the 2018 ‘5 Under 35’ Honorees by the National Book Foundation, an award for authors aged under 35, who have published their first and only book of fiction within the last five years, and 'whose debut titles provide a first look at their exceptional talent as fiction writers.’ He was nominated by Colson Whitehead, winner of the 2016 National Book Award for his The Underground Railroad.

This book - Friday Black - a collection of shor
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
This was a fun, satirical short story collection about some serious topics. One of the NBA 5 under 35 selections this year.
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
A first-rate story collection with a little bit of magical realism, weirdness, strangeness, wit, hard truths, racial injustice and a dash of retail shopping, which gives the book its title. Friday Black is what we know as Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that ushers in the Christmas shopping season. In the story, Friday Black, a clothing store in the mall is gearing up for the shopping frenzy that can be deadly and in the past Friday Blacks it has been literally fatal.

“Last year, the F
Anna |hayinas7
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Finklestein 5, Zimmer Land, Light Spitter and Through the Flash are my absolute favorites. Great collection of short stories.
Sep 27, 2018 rated it liked it
2.5 rounded up

As is often the case with short stories, I found these to be an incredibly mixed bag. I thought the first story was brilliant - it felt really Black Mirror-esque - but unfortunately the rest were mostly forgettable for me, ending predictably and often falling flat.

Thank you Netgalley and Quercus Books for the advance copy, which was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh my goodness, where do I even begin to write this review?

First of all, I have never read a book like this before (to say the least!!!), it truly is eye opening and every time I think about it I feel goosebumps all over. The magnitude of what it tries to present in the book is beyond words, so before I go into a bit more details of the book, I just want to congratulate the author for such outstanding debut novel and for what he has achieved so far. It truly is amazing.

Friday Black consists of 1
Rod-Kelly Hines
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-owned
With all of the high praise this collection has received, I was very excited to read it. Overall, I enjoyed it even though I wasn't expecting speculative fiction, a genre that often leaves me cold and unsatisfied. The standouts in the collection are The Finkelstein 5, Zimmer Land, How to Sell a Jacket as Told by IceKing, and Friday Black, which is an utterly brilliant story and deservedly gives the book it's title. The rest had no effect on me whatsoever beyond being cleverly written.
Jaclyn Crupi
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The best fiction shakes you up – this is the best fiction and I feel like a snow globe. I’m not sure any of us could ever be ready for something as electric and essential as FRIDAY BLACK and I’m so happy to have been rocked to my core. This collection of illuminating and mind-expanding stories has had me captivated. This was one of my most anticipated books of the year and I feel equally exhausted and exhilarated, spent and satiated. FRIDAY BLACK will set you on fire and all I can really say is ...more
Sep 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Review to follow (copy received via NetGalley and the publisher asked for reviews to be held until 3 weeks prior to publication).
Nov 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Another GR reviewer wrote this about Friday Black: The Finkelstein 5, Zimmer Land, How to Sell a Jacket as Told by IceKing, and Friday Black, which is an utterly brilliant story and deservedly gives the book its title. The rest had no effect on me whatsoever beyond being cleverly written.

I could not agree more. This is a mixed-bag collection; what's good is outstanding but not every story stands out. Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah has an abundance of talent and I have no doubt we'll be seeing more of
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a great debut and some truly original short stories that are so gooooood they set the bar on how amazing short stories can be.
A little surreal, a splash of sci-fi and dystopia, anger mixed with sharp observations I was griped, and I want to read it again because each story was so detailed I want to make sure I got everything!
I was especially gripped by Through The Flash that could have been it’s own book, actually most of them would make a great individual lengthier book!
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 best collection of short stories to come out since last years her body and other parties. Maybe got bored with one of the stories or two but other than that flawless
Uriel Perez
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah's 'Friday Black' is such a book that requires one a moment to catch their breath upon completion. These twelve stories are ferocious and reveal the underbelly of a nation still at odds with its own past, destined to be consumed by its present. And yet, there's a persistent glimmer of hope that runs through these visions of chaos and suffering, of ghosts seeking redemption, of the over-worked sales representative, of those caught in an system actively working against them ...more
Beth (bibliobeth)
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review comes with a huge thank you to Quercus Books whom at a recent "Word-Of-Mouth Bestsellers Evening" kindly provided me with a copy of this book in a fun little "blind date," where the book was wrapped up in standard brown paper with a few teasing pieces of information on the front to suggest what might be inside. If you follow me on Instagram/Twitter you might have already seen what was there but for those of you who don't I'll just mention it here briefly because it was what was said ...more
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book covers a lot of issues in a short span of time. I especially loved the first and last story. The first, about what happens when a white man uses a chainsaw to behead five young black children and then says he was just defending himself, is satirical but also kind of sad in how not-really-satirical it is. The last is about a neighborhood stuck in a time loop where every day ends with the same bomb killing them all (I love time loops, and I loved the narrator of this story). The stories ...more
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, readsoullit
Wow. I will say that I wasn’t sure what to expect from this collection of short stories but I gotta say that I wasn’t disappointed with them! Each one took on an idea and really made you feel and think deeply about subjects such as consumerism, racial injustice, school shootings and the like.

I think my favorite ones were: The Finkelstein 5, Friday Black, The Lion and the Spider, Light Spitter, In Retail and Lark Street.
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah's debut collection Friday Black is something else! I read most of it during train rides this weekend and I could hardly put it down. Roxane Gay wrote about the book: " Friday Black is razor sharp, ready to cut deep. This book is dark and captivating and essential. This book is a call to arms and it is a condemnation". In his highly inventive stories, Adjei-Brenyah takes our reality and tweaks it just a little bit, follows a thought a bit further, makes something common a ...more
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hell yeah.
A vibrant debut collection, in the vein of George Saunders and Black Mirror and so many other things yet so decidedly original that you really have to say "well, it's LIKE these other things BUT" when you try to describe it.

A few of the stories are on the weaker side, but "The Finklestein 5" and "Zimmer Land" and "Light Spitter" and "Through the Flash" -- not to mention the three slightly-linked tales of retail (incl. the title story) -- are absolutely astounding. Adjei-Brenyah is the
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you HMH for the ARC. Simply stated this is the best book of the year thus far and merits consideration for major literary awards. The stories will make an excellent TV mini series and is excellent depiction of the all too real dystopia that is life in a woefully prejudiced dysfunctional American society. A brilliant must read
Bianca Walters
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
The instinct is to call this gritty, because it surely isn't gentle, but that would be inaccurate. Friday Black is clear. Not the view from a dirty window through a rusty screen, but that first day with new glasses magnifying glass welded to your cornea kind of view.
Lindsay Cole
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a stunning debut collection. Important and strange and funny and heartbreaking and edgy and - WOW.
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Book Review: Friday Black
Author: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Publisher: Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: October 23, 2018
Review Date: October 30, 2018

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is the author’s debut book, a collection of short stories. This is yet another one of those extraordinary books I’ve been honored to read via NetGalley.

This book has taken the literary world by storm, for good reason. Go take a look at the
I think I'm just not made to enjoy collections of short stories. I think its their unevenness that makes me dislike them; nearly every collection I've read has some good stories in it, but you really have to dig for those, because they're surrounded by stories that are far less appealing to me.

I didn't have to dig to find the gem in this collection; it was right at the beginning. "The Finkelstein Five" was, quite frankly, amazing. (view spoiler)
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Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah is from Spring Valley, New York. He graduated from SUNY Albany and went on to receive his MFA from Syracuse University.

He was the '16-'17 Olive B. O'Connor fellow in fiction at Colgate University.

His work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous publications, including Guernica, Compose: A Journal of Simply Good Writing, Printer’s Row, Gravel, and The Breakwater Review,
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