... irresistible ... marks the launch of an effervescent new career ... alternately sly and sweet, a work of cultural criticism that laments and celebrates the power of money ... Depending on the light, the magical sheen of Askaripour’s prose can make those bits of homespun advice look wholly sincere or wickedly parodic ... what makes Black Buck rise above other corporate satires is Askaripour’s dexterous treatment of race in the modern workplace ... This is satire richly fertilized with Trumpist anxiety. Darren — Buck — confronts fragility so finely attuned that even to suggest the existence of racism incites a White backlash of racist attacks cloaked in sententious outrage. It’s a brilliant sendup of the way some privileged people respond to the gentlest, most practical efforts to combat discrimination ... But don’t imagine you’ve got Askaripour all figured out. The syncopated tone of Black Buck keeps the story constantly shifting. In these pages, even cringe-inducing moments can suddenly slip into wise counsel or heartfelt confession. No matter how lacerating this vision of systemic racism is, Darren seems buoyed by a generous spirit, a well of joy that feels downright miraculous.
... a witty yet thrilling examination of the complexities of race in corporate America ... a life-changing and culture-shifting journey that is full of twists, turns and some truly profound messages ... an ambitious book. While being an intellectual and captivating work of satire, it also serves as an instruction manual for Black and brown people working in white-dominated spaces. Askaripour embeds tokens of wisdom in his well-crafted plot and delivers direct messages of advice and encouragement to readers. There is great risk in such ambition, but Askaripour is a fine writer and superbly executes his vision ... This is an entertaining, accessible and thorough look at America’s race problem, a book both of the moment and one for all seasons. It’s a necessary read for those living under the weight of oppressive systems as well as for those looking to better understand their complicity within them.
This winning novel—or is it a self-help book?—opens with a striking proposition ... Teetering between biting satire and complete earnestness ... What’s not fantasy, though, are the all-too-believable tone-deaf or actively malicious slights Darren/Buck faces at his lily-white office. Thankfully, his quick wit provides cathartic delight: “I should’ve known from the Middle Passage to never trust a white man who says, ‘Take a seat.’”