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3.35  ·  Rating details ·  1,944 ratings  ·  308 reviews
White skin, green eyes, red hair...

Furo Wariboko – born and bred in Lagos – wakes up on the morning of his job interview to discover he has turned into a white man. As he hits the city streets running, still reeling from his new-found condition, Furo finds the dead ends of his life open out before him. As a white man in Nigeria, the world is seemingly his oyster – except f
Paperback, 262 pages
Published July 9th 2015 by Chatto Windus
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Average rating 3.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,944 ratings  ·  308 reviews

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I read this book because I am trying to read new releases for 2016 and because the premise of the book really intrigued me. The main character, Furo wakes up one morning at his home in Lagos to find out he is white, except for his ass which remained black. I really wanted to see where Barrett was going to take this premise, spoiler alert: nowhere interesting.

The idea for the book while unique was not thoroughly executed. There are so many places Barrett could have taken this plot but we were mo
Adam Dalva
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fascinatingly propulsive Kafka parody that doesn't pause for a second - the fundamental concept, a body switch with a titular twist, feels expected, but Barrett accomplishes a great deal with his local writing about Nigeria. I've always liked string-of-coincidence novels in which a character keeps on falling up, and this never stopped being fun or sharp.

I was less convinced of the novel's gender politics (the female characters are all either fairly angelic or awful), and the transgender twist i
Dami Ajayi
Jul 31, 2015 rated it liked it
There are several ways to read Blackass: as a satirical novel about decolonization; as a contemporary novel that maps modern Lagos and, by extension, Nigeria; as a contemporary novel about social media, alter egos and the subtle transformations they bring about in us; as a post-modern novel blurring the lines between fiction and reality; as a retelling of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis in contemporary Lagos. - See more at: ...more
Read In Colour
May 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
It reminded me a lot of Franz Kafka's The Trial & The Metamorphis, along with Nikolai Gogol's The Nose, which means I read a lot of Russian lit and perhaps the author does too. It was enjoyable right up until the end. I was a bit confused by the protagonist's last decision, not enough that a sequel is needed, but an explanation would be great. ...more
K.J. Charles
Jun 01, 2019 added it
Shelves: african
Furo is a Nigerian struggling to survive in Lagos, his costly education worthless in the face of the jobs crisis amd endemic corruption. Then, one day, he wakes up white (except for his bum, which stays black) and his life changes. A lot.

This is...odd. It's a great satirical premise, but the author doesn't do a huge amount with it. Furo benefits hugely from whiteness--people fall over themselves to offer him jobs, are ready to loan him money, women throw themselves at him. But that's about as fa
Aug 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
After setting off with a great start, the journey stalls because the black man turned white is a shallow character, and this doesn't change throughout the tale. but given the opportunity to exploit others, using his white skin, that's exactly what Furo does. It's a tale of prejudice and the power white skin confers, and the ease with which white men exploit their skin color to secure sex, money and career development.. and of course the willingness with which many Africans are willing to let whi ...more
Jamise // Spines & Vines
Rating 2.5
I don't know what to say about this book. I had high hopes but it just wasn't for me. Although there were some metaphoric themes scattered here and there, overall I felt it was a bunch of words that went no where.

The premise of Furo, a young Nigerian man waking up to discover that he's now white however his "ass" remains black sounded intriguing but the story fell flat. Although Furo believes his whiteness will afford him many special opportunities in Lagos, he soon learns that being
Caecilia Saori
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
The idea for the story is very unique. But overall, it has left too many questions open for my taste. At times, I found the author touched various storylines while I would have preferred one straight-forward attempt, focusing on Furo only. All in all, it was a bit of a challenging read, but it did not touch me as much as I had hoped.
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, but found it a bit underwhelming. I definitely enjoyed being immersed in the vibe of Lagos, and I liked the writing style. I just didn't walk away feeling like the gimmick was adequately explored. It holds up, but it could have been a lot better.
Feb 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
i love the fact that this book is not written for non-nigerians, that the rich language and textures are not explained. there is no shortage of great dialogue. however the story is not plausible and there are too many holes to ignore. the ending didnt resolve the story and too many characters, interesting yet aimless, spoiled the broth. great idea marred by a shaky execution.
Greg Zimmerman
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this, as much for living in Lagos for a few days as for the satire.
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Furo, a 33-year-old, unemployed Nigerian man who still lives at home with his parents and younger sister, wakes up one morning to find that he has experienced a Kafkaesque transformation: he is an oyibo, a white man. Mystified and frightened of what his family will think, he runs away from home before they can see him.

And thus begins Furo's journey to find himself and his place now as a white man who speaks like a native-born Nigerian in Nigeria's preeminent city, Lagos.

Blackass is more than ju
Mar 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Barrett's satirical debut novel has been described as the "Nigerian spin on Kafka's Metamorphosis", which is not untrue--the protagonist, a Nigerian Kalamari man Furo Wariboko wakes up as a white man, and eventually re-makes himself as 'Frank Whyte'--but this sharp novel does diverge from Kafka's Metamorphosis in many ways, enough to say that while Barrett uses the basic premise, Furo is no Gregor Samsa.

Furo wakes up in this strange body, goes for a job interview and finds doors opening for him
Mar 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Aside from the main character (you know, the one with the black ass) being kind of an asshole, this book was really good. It's narrative flits between our title character and another person he meets on his 2nd day of being white, someone who is going through their own personal transformation. This sort of parallel story is a great lens in which to view Furo's journey (and vice-versa, which is probably the way you are supposed to).

When Furo wakes up as a white man on the morning of a job intervi
Miss Ifeoma  Ezenwere
What happens when you wake up one day to another skin colour? To another race! what changes for you?
BlackAss is the story of main character, Furo Wariboko, a thirty three years old Nigerian Male, who wakes up one morning to find himself a white man! The text is set in present day Lagos, Nigeria; and follows the life of Wariboko, as he wakes up to this change. It explores majorly the idea of racial superiority, stereotypes, gender classification, identity crisis, and the woman question.
In a way,
Jul 27, 2016 rated it liked it
I like this story. It's an experiment in "otherness". It does not pretend to be what it's not; it's so straightforward, it's startling.

As I think of Furo Wariboko, victim-of-a-strange-circumstance-turned-master-manipulator, I remember the quote that says, "Character is revealed under pressure/in a crisis".
Aug 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

Every review of this book proclaims how it's a sharp social commentary, and reading those I was like, 'no's a book about a black man who suddenly turns white'—but in fact there's a subtler, more incisive point to be made about gender and sex. Of course, the perception of whiteness, and in particular of a white man who can walk the walk/talk the talk of a native Nigerian is there, but there's also Furo's—the protagonist's—reliance on a woman who is the mistress of a wealthy man
Lade Tawak
When I read the synopsis of this book, I was eager to read it to see where the story would go. On reading it, I was disappointed.

The book started out well. Furo's was an interesting character at first. Then it started going all over the place. Too much happened in the book and story felt flat. I really hoped it would pick up, so I continued to struggle through it. I got to the end and was annoyed that I made myself struggle through it.

The Twitter bits annoyed me and slowed me down because I had
Jun 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great satire on race, identity and life in Nigeria told through this riff on The Metamorphosis by Kafka. From the time Faro wakes up as a black man who has inexplicably become a white man through the last page of the book he is trying to both shape his new place in the world and scrub all traces of his old standing. It's written almost at a thriller pace as he tries to build a new life out of nothing and all the manipulation that goal implies. Within that story, though, are all the rich details ...more
Nana Fredua-Agyeman
An interesting novel. Left me wanting more... the ending, like the light just went out. Abrupt. Full review will be on my blog soon.
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: nigeria
Starts out as a Kafka pastiche, quickly expands to cover a lot more - the lingering effects of colonialism in society and culture, gender politics, etc etc. The problem, while it does all of that with both verve and sharpness, is that it doesn't really have time to dig into all the various things it sets up, and the plot never really knows where to go; the kind of book where I suddenly look up and realise I only have 12 pages to go and there is no way it can tie everything up. Which it can't. Bu ...more
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book majorly slapped tbh. Kafka whomst?!?!?!
Aug 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: nigerian-authors

Furo Wariboko woke up and he had turned white. Naturally, I feel the need to ask why? Here’s an unemployed 33-year-old university graduate still living in his parent’s home, he’s understandably struggling with self-esteem issues and so on; but why turn white? Well, you won’t find your answer here. The author tells us to take it or leave it, he turned white. End of story. Let’s move on.

Furo definitely doesn’t waste any time moving on, 2 hours into his transformation and he’s already reaping the b

John Miller
Aug 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Blackass by A. Igoni Barrett is pretty hilarious at times, I will admit. Barrett begins with what is very clearly a parody of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis with the line “FURO WARIBOKO AWOKE this morning to find” which clearly mirrors Kafka’s work quite closely. The central conflict of Kafka’s story is how Gregor Samsa will be perceived by the world around him after he has been transformed into a giant insect. Whereas Samsa has been transformed into something loathsome, Barrett’s character Furo has ...more
Feb 27, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2019
The story of Blackass followed Furo Wariboko who is a Nigerian man through and through; born and raised in Lagos. One day, he wakes up to discover that his skin is white, his eyes are green, and his hair is red. But, his ass is still black. Turned into a white man, he hits the streets of Lagos and discovers a world ripe with opportunities he did not have as a black man.

This premise is incredible; it is super intriguing. But unfortunately, I found it very underwhelming. One of my biggest critics
Jun 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
What a unlikable protagonist! Furo is selfish, shallow, and a bit of an asshole and has no redeeming qualities. Which makes me not very interested in him as a character. As many other reviewers here have mentioned, this novel has a great premise but it seems like a good idea gone to waste. I had hoped the novel would (view spoiler) ...more
Martha Tomhave
Apr 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
What a wild book! Furo Wariboko is a black Nigerian who wakes up white, except for his 'blackass,' as the title says. He spends the book having adventures with his new racial identity, in getting jobs, choosing languages, meeting women, trying to whiten his ass, and just walking down the street. Interestingly, going back to being black is not an option for him, and also interestingly, one of the characters has the same name as the author. The book dwindles at its conclusion - the author didn't s ...more
3.5 stars
I ordered this book because the premise interested me - the story of a young Nigerian who awakes one morning to find himself white. It was a satire about race, but one that didn't feel the need to hammer you by overdoing it. Though I've read reviewers that feel otherwise, I liked that the story didn't really conclude and tie up the loose ends, but rather just leaves us wondering how everything will work out. I was also really intrigued by the narration of the book, as it changed between
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Enter your review (optional)A Very Nigerian book masterfully written. Now, while Furo Wariboko wasn't an exciting character through and through, the rich narratives of almost every other character more than made up.( Its a book set in a Lagos, of course characters are almost always going to have rich narratives)

Oh and did the book seem to have an unnerving thirst for intricate descriptions of anything and everything?

The Infusion of Twitterverse, Igoni's (sudden) transformation, Furo's unbelievab
Jul 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was an interesting story, to go to bed one thing, wake up another and have to figure out to your life essentially reborn as someone else. The privileges and advantages that Furo received when he beat white man were amazing;the way people treaty him and behaved towards him in was a lot different than his black counterparts. He was viewed as better and more qualified because of his skin color. Even though he had a daily reminder of what he once was, he used what he was given to the best of hi ...more
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Adrian Igoni Barrett was a winner of the BBC World Service short story competition for 2005. His first book, a collection of short stories entitled From Caves of Rotten Teeth, was first published in 2005 and reissued in 2008. In 2014 he was named on the Africa39 list of writers aged under 40 with potential and talent to define future trends in African literature.

His father is the Jamaican poet and

Articles featuring this book

His Favorite Books About Transformation: A black Nigerian wakes up white in the new satire Blackass, whose author recommends five books about...
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“No one asks to be born, to be black or white or any color in between and yet the identity a person is born into becomes the hardest to explain to the world” 9 likes
“Womanhood comes with its peculiar burdens, among them the constant reminder of a subordinate status whose dominant symptom was uninvited sexual attention from men” 5 likes
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