Cori’s Pick: Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour
Mateo Askaripour’s Black Buck is why I love debut fiction. It is brimming with energy and grit, and a very strong point of view. Askaripour has an important message to deliver and this hilarious satire gets the job done.
The book centers around twenty-two year old Darren who lives a very safe and modest life in Bed-Stuy, NY with his mother. Graduating as valedictorian from high school, but currently working at Starbucks, Darren’s mother pushes him to strive for more. Enter Rhett Daniels, CEO of the hottest new (cult like) tech startup, Sumwun, that sees nothing but potential in Darren. Plucked from his regular life and inserted as the token Black employee at Sumwun, ‘Buck’ transforms into a ruthless salesman, triggering an absurd and hysterically funny sequence of events. While sharply funny and full of exaggerated details, the author is giving us a glimpse of what are no-doubt, the very real struggles young Black men must navigate in their journey to the top of the corporate world.
This novel has a very original voice that I loved. In the book’s Acknowledgements, Askaripour tells us that his next book won’t be anything like this one…which makes me simultaneously sad (because I loved it so much) and happy (because, what will he come up with next?!)
Keep this book and author on your radar, I have no doubt there is more greatness to come.