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Black Card

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  63 ratings  ·  24 reviews
With dark humor, Chris L. Terry’s Black Card is an uncompromising examination of American identity. In an effort to be “black enough,” a mixed-race punk rock musician indulges his own stereotypical views of African American life by doing what his white bandmates call “black stuff.” After remaining silent during a racist incident, the unnamed narrator has his Black Card rev ...more
Published August 13th 2019 by Catapult
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4.32  · 
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 ·  63 ratings  ·  24 reviews

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Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
UPDATE: so i went to chris' reading at books are magic and it went great, and afterwards it was all compressed signing-line longtime no see catching-up: howza wife and kid and swapping freelance woes



(view spoiler)


chris terry wrote another book! and it is great! i loved his debut, Zero Fade, which—being a small press YA title—did not get nearly as wide a readership as it deserved, and if there is any just
Paris (parisperusing)
It pains me, what I have to say about Chris L. Terry's Black Card. This novel could have been so much more effective than it was, but its potential, sadly, was marred by its own neediness of misapplying every black stereotype you could imagine. That isn't, however, the bone I have to pick with Black Card — it was the lazy unwillingness to correct or debunk these stereotypes.

In an effort to win back his "Black Card" — a spiritual token of black acceptance that’s made real in the book — after bein
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, fall-2019
Black Card is the satirical story of a mixed-race punk rock musician who, determined to win back his coveted Black Card, is suspected of a violent crime in early 2000s Richmond, Virginia, and is confronted with the alienation and everyday aggressions experienced in an absurd world divided by race.
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
BLACK CARD takes the teenage search for the self through a sharp and surreal map of punk-southern-rap-rock Virginia, drawn and crossed in racial lines and guided by the heart and wit of Chris Terry’s indelible characters. A kickflip classic.
James Spooner
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Chris Terry beat me to the punch. This book has all the stuff I’d put into a book of writing about my own life.
He writes about mixed race identity and punk rock in a way that only someone who has lived it could.
I recommend this to anyone who has an interest in either.
Uriel Perez
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Chris L. Terry’s hilariously unnerving novel, ‘Black Card,’ grapples with questions of racial identity, pitting one mixed-race, punk-rocking barista against an alarmingly racist circle of friends and strangers, a police investigation that views him as the prime suspect of a violent crime, and the existential threat of having lost his Black Card, the lone tie to his Blackness.

‘Black Card’ is probing, revelatory and deftly toes it’s way through the murky waters of the bi-racial experience. Chris L
Nia Forrester
You ever read a book that you're just happy was written? 'Black Card' is one such book for me. I mean, there have been a couple of those this year, but this one in particular felt timely and important. I read about this book long before it was released, and admit I was somewhat disappointed that it was going to be satire. I like writing, thinking, speaking, reading about race and identity, race and politics, race and relationships ... and it feels weighty, but like it deserves that weight. It fe ...more
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had high expectations and this book totally exceeded them. I don't often laugh out loud when reading but this book got me a few times. I can't recommend it enough. I've already given away one copy as a gift and it's only been out like a week.
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
“it’s easy to lose it when you’re looking for yourself”
Black Card is a satirical novel that reads almost like a memoir. It delicately explores life of a mixed race man living in the old confederate capitol of Richmond Va. Terry has created a work so searing and truthful that it makes you question the very logic which it defies. Facing off against topics on the hot stove of society these days and written with such complex fury that made it so effortless to fly through these pages. I also had
Jul 21, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is about a young gentlemen trying to figure out is he "black" or is he "white." The book started out slow and had a minimally effective plot. Book was a quick read.
Tony DuShane
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A super fun read right from page one.
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read the majority of this book in two very long sittings (one at a bar, one at the Manhattan DMV, to give you an idea of how long) and, while I actually think it might be better-suited to short spurts, like a commute, I did really enjoy immersing myself in its world for that long. And while for quite a bit of this book I was thinking more along four stars, by the end I really felt like there was something a little brilliant about the novel, though it was tough to put my finger on exactly what. ...more
Rebecca H.
The novel Black Card contains a literal Black Card that its narrator is desperately trying to win back. He’s the son of a black father and Irish American mother, and his skin color means he can pass as white—at least some of the time, with some people. His looks are ambiguous enough that he’s never sure how people perceive him, and he’s unsure what to think about himself. IS he black enough? Why doesn’t he feel like he is? His friend—imaginary friend?—Lucius originally gave him his Black Card, b ...more
Matt Glaviano
Sep 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, fiction
3.5 stars.

Subject matter-wise, and for the story within the writing, I'd rate this higher. I loved the profusion and conflict of racial, political, and even musical ideologies. I always love a book that take music seriously, and makes it integral to the plot; from that POV, being reminded to listen to Curtis Mayfield and Outkast was welcome.

The pace of the narrative didn't always work for me. The first 100 pages didn't feel like they were going anywhere, and I was concerned that a larger plot mi
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the stock pieces of writing advice for writers is "write what you know". This dude took it to heart. It rings true, just about everything rings so sincere and tactile that it's really ridiculous. From the cringey racism of white people at karaoke night, to the logistics of dirtbag punk band touring. It's a quick read, everything moves the plot forward, and there's enough magical realism/flashbacks/diversions that nothing ever gets slowed down by real life. I've never had a struggle with r ...more
Lavon Youins
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I myself am biracial (Black/Korean) who lives in the South, so I know firsthand the struggle concerning confederate monuments, microaggressions committed by friends - and having them allow others to openly racially-antagonize you directly. I also know the struggle of having to atone for turning your back on the maintained struggle of one's race in favor of a better chance of a good day. I also know forgiveness of self.
What Terry has done is not just written a story that is deeply personal to him
Jul 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I received this from Goodreads as an ARC. As a white female, it was a very interesting read. I was thinking as I was reading about my grandchildren who are mixed, hoping that they will be able to continue to find their way in a world that's not always easy to navigate. Thanks for sharing your perspective.
Christy Rogers
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Black Card is searing yet approachable. It's complex and layered, yet the message is so simple. The unnamed narrator and his imaginary guide demonstrate the complexities of race in today's society, particularly in the divided south. Race is not just a side of a coin. It has nuances and layers, all perfectly displayed through Terry's warm but discomfiting novel.
Lee Barnes
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A quick, affecting read about a biracial person's experiences of coming to terms with their intersectional identity in Richmond, VA. Black Card challenges racist tropes and cliches through a self-aware satirical lens, while simultaneously providing levity with a touch of magical realism.
Alexander P.
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the best of 2019. Brilliant prose, spot-on descriptions, and a main character you wish to spend more time than this wonderfully-paced novel gives you. This is definitely a book Terry should be eating off for years to come.
james r. hise
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Where do I start?!
This book was riveting. I couldn't put it down. It was powerful, emotional and completely relatable. The characters are so we'll developed I felt like I was reading a story about my friends. I can't wait to see what Chris L. Terry writes next!
Erika Kraus
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I won this book in the giveaway! I was entertained and interested throughout the story and I already have someone in mind to pass it along to!
Sarah Langan
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I got an advance copy of Chris Terry's Black Card. It's a propulsive coming of age story, about a mixed race kid who doesn't know who he is, or whether he should listen to the voices in his head.
Pete Hsu
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is my kind of book! Smart, funny and heartbreaking.

The unnamed protagonist is a mixed-race black guy in Virginia who’s trying to navigate his conflicted desire to: (1) continue participating within the levels of racist America while also (2) desperately (re)claim his black identity. It’s a heartfelt and entertaining read that takes a stark turn forcing the narrator to confront what it really means to be a black man in America.
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Aug 27, 2019
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Chris L. Terry is the author of the novel Black Card, about a mixed-race punk bassist with a black imaginary friend. NPR called Black Card, "hilariously searing." Terry's debut novel Zero Fade was on Best of 2013 lists by Slate and Kirkus Reviews, who called it, "Original, hilarious, thought-provoking, and wicked smart...not to be missed."

Terry was born in 1979 to a black father and white mother.
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