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Black Buck

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  6,044 ratings  ·  1,319 reviews
For fans of Sorry to Bother You and The Wolf of Wall Street—a crackling, satirical debut novel about a young man given a shot at stardom as the lone Black salesman at a mysterious, cult-like, and wildly successful startup where nothing is as it seems.

There’s nothing like a Black salesman on a mission.

An unambitious twenty-two-year-old, Darren lives in a Bed-Stuy brownston
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published January 5th 2021 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Mateo Askaripour Hi Kate, thanks for your question! There is sex and explicit violence, so if you deem that inappropriate for a 14-year-old, this book isn't for them. …moreHi Kate, thanks for your question! There is sex and explicit violence, so if you deem that inappropriate for a 14-year-old, this book isn't for them. Thus far, the youngest audience I've read a portion of the novel to was one comprised of mostly 15 and 16-year-olds, and the excerpt I chose was lighter than other parts.(less)
Smbergin See if you can get the audio version. It's fantastic. I got mine through my local library. …moreSee if you can get the audio version. It's fantastic. I got mine through my local library. (less)

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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  6,044 ratings  ·  1,319 reviews

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Nov 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley

My thoughts about this book were all over the map. It’s called satire, but it’s not the traditional laugh out loud satire. Other than a running joke in which every white person thinks Buck looks like a different famous black man, there’s not much to laugh about. Instead, it’s the tale of what happens when a young black man tries to emulate a successful white man and loses his soul.
Darren is happy working at Starbucks, waiting for the right opportunity. He gets that opportunity to work as a sale
Ron Charles
Jan 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A month ago, I’d never heard of Mateo Askaripour. Today I would buy anything from him.

This young debut author apparently polished his patter as director of sales at a tech start-up. Now he’s bounced off that success to produce an irresistible comic novel about the tenacity of racism in corporate America. “Black Buck,” which marks the launch of an effervescent new career, is alternately sly and sweet, a work of cultural criticism that laments and celebrates the power of money.

In a tradition stret
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
If I were a HS English teacher or a college English professor, I would assign this book to my class. I've been ruminating on this for a few days and I think now that I'm finally extracting my analysis and putting it into words I have much more of an appreciation for what this book is meant to do. What the author has accomplished here is pretty remarkable. The more non-POC who read books like this and supplement that with research and conversations from POC, we can work towards really trying to m ...more
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Before reading the first word of Black Buck, close your eyes, breath deeply, then recite this definition to yourself:

Satire = The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

For if you don’t keep that definition in mind, this novel will be weighed down by its ridiculousness. The main character, Buck (so nicknamed because he worked at Starbucks), actually tells the
I finished this book days ago, but it took me a while to reason with my feelings about it. It’s unlike anything that I’ve read before and the audiobook was truly an experience, but there were some elements that didn’t work for me as a reader. 3.75 Stars rounded up to 4 Stars for GR

One of the most important things to recognize about Black Buck is that it is a satire. If you’re not a fan of satire’s this book may not be up your alley. Personally, I haven’t read many satirical works in my lifetime
Feb 03, 2021 rated it liked it
Darren is content working as the shift supervisor at Starbucks located in a corporate NYC office building. He’s worked there for 4 years, lives at home with his mom, and has a girlfriend. One day Darren persuades a customer to change his typical drink order and the customer, Rhett, is impressed. He invites Darren to come work at Sumwun, his startup company located upstairs. Eventually Darren agrees, beginning his new career.

Hell Week is rough for Darren — His mock calls are highly criticized an
Jessica | JustReadingJess
Feb 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, libro-fm
I really enjoyed Black Buck. Buck is a great character that works hard to become successful. He also mentors and starts a group to help young blacks get the skills necessary to get better jobs. I enjoyed how hard Buck worked and found it interesting how he changed as he became more successful. This is an interesting portrayal of how people change when they earn more money and success isn’t always a good thing. Black Buck discusses important race issues. Buck was never accepted by some of his cow ...more
Larry H
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
4.5 stars, rounded up.

Wow, what a book. Black Buck , Mateo Askaripour's debut novel, is powerful, satirical, poignant, and so relevant.

Darren Vender isn’t unhappy with his life. He lives with his mother in a Bed-Stuy brownstone, works at a Starbucks in the lobby of a NYC office building, and loves spending time with his longtime girlfriend, Soraya. Maybe it’s not what one would expect from the 22-year-old former valedictorian of Bronx Science High School, but he’s fine with it, even if his mo
Feb 20, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: race, satire, fiction
So... lots of people are raving about this book and it probably does deserve all much of the hype it's getting. It's a clever take on racism, especially in the workplace. 

Buck is a young Black man working at Starbucks. He's content with the way life is and not very driven to do more. Then this white guy named Rhett convinces him to interview for a job at a startup called Sumwun. 

Buck does and is the first Black person to work for Sumwun. Just about every white person there, upon meeting Buck, te
Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: satire, adult-fiction
So, “Black Buck” is billed as a satirical novel about racism, and I agree, there’s much satire in this amazing novel. While reading it, and after reading it, I took pause. Author Mateo Askaripour packs so much into his novel, and the racism…. oh my…it’s horrifying yet he writes it in such a clever way, many times cringe-worthy, that I had to admit to myself that yes, this crap happens and most likely is STILL happening! With satire and humor, Askaripour creates a message that is profound and for ...more
Theresa Alan
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
“An opportunity means change. And opportunity means actions. But most of all, an opportunity means the chance of failure. And it’s the potential for failure, more than failure itself, that stops so many people from beginning anything.”

I started out really enjoying this book because I liked the main character, Darren, who gets the nickname Buck at a start-up company where he is the only black person. But then Buck becomes a person I disliked immensely, one of those sleazy salespeople that is a st
Feb 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021, netgalley
This was an interesting book, pretty different from a lot of other things I’ve read. I normally don’t think much of the comp titles that marketing departments like to toss out there to help sell books, but the two from the synopsis, Sorry to Bother You and The Wolf of Wall Street were pitch-perfect to me!

I’ve seen some complaints about how this book is over the top and to those readers I say......that’s kind of the point. This is a satirical novel. It’s also about a topic that’s likely to be unc
Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
[4+] Sold! It is a thrill to read a novel that leads me into new territory. Biting, absurd, over-the-top, right-on-target, Black Buck repeatedly surprised me. It also angered me, dismayed me and delighted me. My feelings about Buck, a young black man trying to succeed in a racist company, frequently vacillated as he continually transformed himself.

I recommend the excellent audiobook, read by Zeno Robinson.
Elyse  Walters
Audiobook... read by Zeno Robinson (excellent voice personality)

As for this book... itself...
my feelings are mixed.
My funny bone has limitations.
Satire mixed with corporate America, racism, climbing the mountain, white supremacy, a mother, a girlfriend, friends, a sad loss, and the *humor*
fizzled out on me. The fire just went out....
— with an ending that left me feeling very bleak.

It started out with a fun refreshing bang....( especially loved the gifted audiobook reader)...
but then I took a
Feb 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
#10Books10Decades Entry #1 Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour

Satire is defined as the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.

Mateo Askaripour, the author of Black Buck, has been a bit reluctant to call his novel satire. He has been consistent in telling anyone who asks that his novel was written in earnest. Sure there are moments that can be considered satirical
Jan 22, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Black Buck
Ambitious, Promising, Satire, Dark Humor

First off, if you want to read this book or still deciding, please have an open mind, this is going to be a wild ride, and if you are not familiar with satire , please do have a little research about it, it's going to affect your reading experience.

Darren (Buck) is an unambitious 22 year old valedictorian who works at Starbucks, and he is pretty fine with it, but his mother however really push him to go out there and show them what he's go
Jessica Woodbury
Very torn on this satire. While it has the bravado of a Vonnegut and the keen eye for race of THE SELLOUT, the actual plot and prose are very broad. This isn't the same kind of satire we've seen from Paul Beatty or Maurice Carlos Ruffin, it's quite different in tone even if there are definitely similarities in topic.

The concept and the ideas are the strongest pieces here. I love the fictional-memoir-as-sales-manual gimmick and it's one of the best elements of the book. The constantly twisting tu
Lily Herman
Jul 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Excuse me for a sec, I need to catch my breath, because this novel took me on a JOURNEY.

Mateo Askaripour's debut Black Buck is a wildly batshit absurdist satire on startup culture, racism in America, media fuckery, New York City, and so much more. Buck himself was a fascinating character—and one whom you never quite get a grip on but feel okay about in the process.

In a weird way, this novel sort of reminded me of C. D. Payne's Youth in Revolt in terms of how ridiculous the stakes got after a cer
Feb 16, 2021 rated it it was ok
This book started out really strong for me but fell flat. I didn’t like any of the characters, especially Buck/Darren. The cover was beautiful! This book just was not for me.

It reminded me of the movie Boiler Room with the sales culture mixed with a lot of racism and micro aggressions.
Chelsey (a_novel_idea11)
Dec 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways-arcs
Darren is a managing barista at a busy Starbucks in Manhattan just waiting for his big break. When one of his regulars comes in alone one afternoon, Darren works up the courage to pitch a new drink to him. The customer always orders the same beverage, but Darren knows another drink would be better suited to him. Able to persuade the customer to try something new, Darren realizes he may have bit off more than he can chew when the customer is so surprised that he asks Darren for a meeting in his o ...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
I should’ve known from the Middle Passage to never trust a white man who says, “Take a seat.” It could be your last.

Do y’all read for a specific purpose? I am 100% a mood reader and I’m also of the mindset that if I have to force myself to read something specifically for a cause (like Black History Month) there’s a solid chance I’m part of the problem rather than the solution. I ended up reading Black Buck yesterday simply for the fact that my turn had come around at the library and I know o
breana / milkyboos ♡
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2021, favorites
you ever finish a book and decide that you will buy and support everything the author releases in the future forever?

yup, me too. just now. with this book.
Black Buck is a satirical novel that offers a unique take on race and justice. Darren is a manager at Starbucks until one day Rhett Daniels , CEO of SumWun sees potential in him and offers him the opportunity of a life time. From there, things begin to look up and may possibly slowly spiral out of control. Darren himself is an interesting character. We watch his gradual change from Darren to Buck and how it affects not only himself, but the people closest to him. Throughout the book, we get tips ...more
Feb 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Meet Darren Vender, a 22-year-old Black man who lives with his mother in a Bed-Stuy brownstone. He works as a coffee barista at Starbucks until he is lured away by Rhett Daniels, who heads an up-and-coming company called Sumwun. Rhett teaches Darren how to sell—the kind of selling where the salesperson does not accept no as an answer. Darren's life completely changes--and not always for the better.

Askaripour’s debut novel takes satire to a whole new level. It takes aim at capitalism dependent up
Laura Tenfingers
Nov 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This was fantastic!

Here we meet Darren, a black man living in NYC, high school valedictorian working at Starbucks. He's smart, kind, caring, and pretty happy. But everyone he cares about wants him to reach his potential, be the man they know he can be, etc. Then an opportunity presents itself, and to please said people, he takes it. And all manner of hell breaks loose.

I found this book to be a great mixture of hilarity, inspiration and confrontation with racism. It was really smart and engaging
Chelsea Amber
Jan 17, 2021 rated it did not like it

I don't want what Black Buck is selling.

By page 9, I'd had enough of Askaripour's excessive use of metaphors, similes and shallow, unnatural dialogue between his characters. His repetitive jokes and sarcasm were laid on thick and never funny. Never. The word "fuck" appeared so many times in the first quarter of the book that it lost all impact. Read: A very obvious debut. Black Buck was not satirical, but sloppy.

Let's start with the main character, Darren, the titular Black Buc
Traci at The Stacks
Solid and ambitious debut. Really funny in parts. Reads like a movie for sure. Would be great on screen. The book went on way too long but what I liked I really liked and what lagged really lagged. Audiobook reader is great!
Jan 27, 2021 rated it liked it
Darren Vender is a 22 year old man living with his mother in the brownstone she inherited in Bedford Stuyvesant. He was the valedictorian of his class at Bronx Science, but as a classic underachiever he has been working at Starbucks for four years instead of going to college. One of his Starbucks customers hires him to work at Sumwun as a cold caller selling a dubious product. Darren, the only African American at Sumwun, is nicknamed Buck by one of his more hostile new colleagues. After some ext ...more
Laura • lauralovestoread
“Be good to those who need love most. Don’t be too hard on the world, especially yourself. And remember that the time we all have on this earth is but a brief flash of beauty, like a shooting star, and that we have to do all we can to live our dreams.”

Black Buck was a lyrical masterpiece and Mateo Askaripour has taken me on a journey. I had no idea what was in store for me prior to reading, only glimpsing at the synopsis that this was a satirical take on Wolf of Wallstreet.

I loved Darren, the he
Feb 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
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“Askaripour closes the deal on the first page of this mesmerizing novel, executing a high wire act full of verve and dark, comic energy.”
—Colson Whitehead, author of
The Nickel Boys

MATEO ASKARIPOUR was a 2018 Rhode Island Writers Colony writer-in-residence, and his writing has appeared in Entrepreneur, Lit Hub, Catapult, The Rumpus, Medium, and elsewhere. He lives in Brooklyn, and his favorite pas

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