Dytopian, violent, cruel - the landscape of race in America is added new dimensions and meanings through the short yet powerful stories of Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah. (The cover is a very good representation of the content from this point of view.)
Adjei-Brenyah, who s in a writing workshop with George Saunders, is the son of Ghanian immigrants and graduated the writing program at Syracuse University where he now teaches. Friday Black is his debut.
The stories do take place in various places and the characters are different. Their approach to their own ´Blackness´ is different too. What the author brought out of his characters is the so-called ´black box´, where the irrational and the rational are struggling to take over the mind. That point trigged by violence, fear, consumerism and hate, when the behavior gets out of control. It doesn´t matter where you are, the chaos is always around the corner, and it does not spare you black or white.
The short story that gives the name to the collection, Friday Black, is representative in this respect, as it shows the delicate limits between normality and...its opposite. Consumerism is taking over the souls and minds similarly with violence. It´s a weird meeting with weird effects where what really matters is having more - at a cheap price, obviously. Such a reward brings people close to craziness, blind, as blind as violence might make one.
Friday Black is not an easy read but it is a good, elaborated one, taking the reader to a journey towards the hidden corners of the living in the modern world, eventually while being black.
Rating: 4 stars