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Friday Black

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  7,774 ratings  ·  1,525 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, 194 pages
Published October 23rd 2018 by Mariner Books
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Ginger Switzer The first and last stories are both related to Black Friday. The stories are a unique and interesting take on the annual event. I thought the book was…moreThe first and last stories are both related to Black Friday. The stories are a unique and interesting take on the annual event. I thought the book was great.(less)

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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  7,774 ratings  ·  1,525 reviews

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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
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
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,
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-favorites
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah proves he is a star by beginning a literary career with this charged story collection.

The commentary on capitalism & consumerism alone is worth your time. Whether it's the subtle commentary through trademark symbols on select items the characters from several stories use, most notably the drugs from "The Era," or the larger things such as mall patrons literally killing each other to get the best Black Friday sales in the eponymous "Friday Black."

I saw a little of my
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
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
Samantha Irby
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Richard Derus
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: borrowed, returned
Real Rating: 4.75* of five

The Publisher Says: 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. By placing ordinary characters in extraordinary situations, Adjei-Brenyah
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 ...more
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-writers
Holy fuck! Everyone who loves Black Mirror will certainly find some stories to absolutely geek out and gush over in this collection. Friday Black is a brilliant and fresh piece of work, that encompasses 12 thought-provoking short stories. Whilst I found some of them to be subpar (and my average rating of these stories is 3.41), I couldn’t help but be incredibly impressed by this debut collection.

A third of these stories got a 5 star rating from me, that is almost unheard of when it comes to me
I forget where I first heard of Adjei-Brenyah, but the name of his debut story collection was so similar to Esi Edugyan’s much-lauded Washington Black that I wanted to read both to make sure they were separated in my mind. Now it is difficult to imagine I would ever forget the title story “Friday Black,” about a young man in a retail store setting dealing with the sales and buying mania of Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the official opening of the Christmas season. There is indeed ...more
Jul 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories, 2019, blm
Like most short story collections, Friday Black has its highs and its lows, and on the whole I’d say it lands somewhere in the middle. But that’s not to dismiss Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s skill at dark, grotesque speculative fiction, which is on full display in a number of these stories, from the harrowing opener The Finkelstein 5 (a man brutally murders 5 black children with a chainsaw and claims self-defense) to the devastating Zimmer Land (a Westworld-style themepark where participants play ...more
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
[4+] These stories straddle the boundary between dystopian and realistic and are terrifying because of the truths they lay bare. Several of Adjei-Brenyah's stories are narrated by retail workers in big box stores who find ways to take pride in their jobs. They are placed in violent situations but try their best to survive and take care of their families in spite of the racism and cruelty they face. A totally original collection that I won't soon forget.
Matthew Quann
Just missed sneaking this one under the wire for my last read of 2018, but it also happens to be a fine way to start the new year. These stories are (mostly) dystopian sci-fi, but think more George Saunders than Margaret Atwood. Like Saunders, Adjei-Brenyah has a dark sense of humour and a clever way of looking at the problems facing the modern American. The stories feature some pretty gruesome and shocking violence, but the book never relishes in the bloodshed and it always packs a punch. ...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
Read By RodKelly
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.
Never Without a Book
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.
My favorite stories were Finklestein 5, Lark Street, Zimmer Land, Friday Black, Light Spitter and Through the Flash. These were the more unique and thought provoking stories that explored some very tough topics. I didn't expect the stories to be so graphic and dark. I think that's why I gravitated towards them!

The other stories were still very well written. I believe there was only 1 story that I didn't enjoy and one that I just literally didn't understand (Things My Mother Said-- I'm still
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.75. Adjei-Brenyah admirably carries off some seriously outlandish stuff (and even when a story doesn't work (aborted foetuses) you have to admire his bravery) and is clearly a major talent.
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
From what I’d read about this book, I thought I’d love it. But I ended up not getting very much out of the stories. Ten of the 12 are told in the first person, and in most cases you get the point after one or two pages and the remaining pages are like a puddle of treacle to crawl through. I think I would have enjoyed coming across one of Adjei-Brenyah’s stories in an anthology – the opener, “The Finkelstein 5,” was probably my favorite and is a good example of how he takes the comedy/horror ...more
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Adjei-Brenyah’s dystopian, satirical short stories are so inventive, that one may miss the ‘bite’ as they relate to our American society. There is violence in ‘The Finkelstein 5’ whereby George Wilson Dunn decapitates five children with his chainsaw because he felt threatened. The resulting trial is a farce. The author chooses to tell this story through Emmanuel John who grades himself on a ‘blackness rating’ system. Dressing in a suit and tie rates a lower rating than if he wears a hoodie. The ...more
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Friday Black is a debut collection of short fiction from Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah. Some of the stories are what I’d classify as literary fiction, but many of them are also speculative. His writing is flawless, and the stories pull no punches. It’s dark, bold, and incredibly relevant. Adjei-Brenyah’s stories largely explore race and systemic racism, consumerism, and the violence entrenched in our culture.

Having worked a few Black Friday’s myself, when I saw the book I knew I had to read it. This
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of short-stories with a bite
"Your brother, even if you ain’t met him a day in your life, is your business. You feel me?”

No time for romance this February: Friday Black roared me awake with its peculiar, striking tales about racism, capitalism, and a (unfair) fight for justice. Most of the stories take place in a dystopian America, but you don’t have to look hard at reality to see where Adjei-Brenyah’s inspiration came from.

After all, what to think of the black kids in “The Era” that need a shot of Good to behave well in
Kevin Shepherd
"...a jury of his peers had acquitted George Wilson Dunn of any wrongdoing whatsoever. He had been indicted for allegedly using a chain saw to hack off the heads of five black children outside the Finklestein Library in Valley Ridge, South Carolina. The court had ruled that because the children were basically loitering and not actually inside the library reading, as one might expect of productive members of society, it was reasonable that Dunn had felt threatened by these five black young people ...more
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
Most of these stories are Science Fiction, two words which are repulsive to folks who read “propuh lit-trah-churrr”, but we don’t get anywhere by denying facts. When you have stories that feature strength-enhancing exoskeletons and self-driving cars (“Zimmer Land”), or reimagine Black Friday shoppers as consumer-crazed zombies who will kill to get a bargain (“Friday Black”) or imagine a world where political correctness doesn’t exist, causing everyone to be honest to the point of cruelty (“The ...more
“If I had words left in me, I would not be here.”

When I started reading this book I could see what the hype was about. This debut collection of short stories is cutting, sharp, refreshing, bizarre and is here to tackle racial issues, capitalism and other topics I am here for authors taking pen to paper for. While I did enjoy a lot of the stories, others veered too far left for me and I was like puzzled. Overall, this book read like a series of Black Mirror and I would love to see these
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
This was a fun, satirical short story collection about some serious topics. One of the NBA 5 under 35 selections this year.
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Has anyone read this yet? 5 16 Jun 11, 2019 06:56AM  
Play Book Tag: Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah / 4 stars 5 29 Nov 30, 2018 06:55AM  

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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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“Emmanuel started learning the basics of his Blackness before he knew how to do long division: smiling when angry, whispering when he wanted to yell.” 3 likes
“even though I’m being true, they’d say I was being emotional and it was clouding my truth.” 1 likes
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