Fierce imagery, colourful description, and uneasy satire basically sum up this debut collection, Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah.
This collection had me opening my mouth in shock and clinging to the hope that the beauty of humanity would somehow shine through.
I didn’t know what to expect when I delved into Friday Black, but it’s safe to say that the world Adjei-Brenyah created was nothing I could have imagined on my own, touching me in ways that were fascinating and disturbing all at once.
The issues and topics that the stories covered were real yet Adjei-Brenyah managed to put his own distinct twist on them, making them all his own which allowed the reader to see a current issue from a different lens.
Each and every story was fluid and well-written, and the words, as well as the feelings,4 stuck with me way after I put it down. The fierce imagery is what made the collection so compelling.
The opening story ‘The Finkelstein 5’ dealt with a white man’s trial following the murder of five black children with a chainsaw. When the man is acquitted we then witness what happens when the black youths seek revenge. This story gripped me in a way that felt so familiar yet uncomfortable.
The story ‘Lark Street’ was perhaps one of my favourites in this collection mainly because of the beauty of its brilliance and vivid simplicity. This story follows a man who is awakened by his ‘would be children.’ As the story goes on, he spends time with the twins as he walks the path of his decision to not have the children. The ending left me feeling so powerful yet weak in my womanhood at the same time; as I questioned the burdens we must bear as women. This story is one I think every man should read.
The title story, Friday Black does such a great job of exposing the greed and the true ugliness of humanity in the context of savings in particular black Friday savings.
The entire collection does an exceptional job of looking at race relations, the criminal justice system and consumerism in ways that make you think and question different aspect of your life and society as a whole. Although many stories seem exaggerated I think that’s also the beauty of them. The characters test their own personal limits and overcome obstacles that are beyond their control.
While the collection may seem apocalyptic at times I think Adjei-Brenyah does a great job at making us look at the things that are in front of us. At its core ‘Friday Black’ is a dystopian, reality that seems to be our present day truth.
I think it’s worth mentioning that this book was #79 in my race to read 100 books in 2018. To learn more about my challenge and the book I’ve read so far check out this post where I break it down. Happy reading!