Friday Black (2018, 192 pages), a collection of stories by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, was recommended by one of the staff at Words here in Maplewood. The Words guy teaches at Seton Hall Prep and was so moved by the stories that he uses two of them in his English class. I took the bait and bought the book!
I recommend this book of short stories.
The stories are amazing. I took my time reading them because there was so much to think about in each one. They are other-worldly – dystopia from the point of view of a young black man. For example the stories encompass:
- A theme park in which the white customers pay to react to the threat they perceive when confronted by a young black man in their neighborhood.
- How the consumption and purchase of goods and clothing has become a blood sport,
- How black youth reach the limit and unite after a jury fails to convict a white man who slaughtered five black kids.
There is violence and gory imagery throughout the book, so if you can’t deal, this book might not be for you. I’m not crazy about blood and guts in general but they are essential to these stories, plus there is a sense of underlying humor. Although the topics and settings may be other-worldly, I really connected with the family relationships that are presented throughout the book.
I plan on re-visiting this book again soon. I think these stories are ones that will reveal more upon re-reading.