This debut collection explores the mortal dangers and frustrations of being young and black in America in surreal and satirical stories, exploring scenarios ranging from the acquittal of a white man in the beheading five black children to a theme park specializing in the simulated murder of "criminal" minorities.
In Friday Black, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah has written a powerful and important and strange and beautiful collection of stories meant to be read right now ... Friday Black is an unbelievable debut, one that announces a new and necessary American voice. This is a dystopian story collection as full of violence as it is of heart. To achieve such an honest pairing of gore with tenderness is no small feat ... In Friday Black, the dystopian future Adjei-Brenyah depicts — like all great dystopian fiction — is bleakly futuristic only on its surface. At its center, each story — sharp as a knife — points to right now.
No comparison can convey a book's intellectual heft, and Friday Black is as intellectually hefty as fiction can get ... Adjei-Brenyah has some serious powers himself. The energy in his fiction is wild, barely controllable yet perfectly controlled ... Adjei-Brenyah fits big emotion, big action, and big thought into each story.
Adjei-Brenyah possesses a dark wit, the ability to take a fanciful notion and make it comically, nightmarishly literal ... The stories generally succeed in their fantastical set-ups. They sometimes fail in their details ... Despite the occasional stylistic hiccup, this high-concept and morally rich collection is discomfiting and moving, savage in its social critique yet generous towards its characters. It ends with a lovely, tempered note of hope... The stories that Adjei-Brenyah tells are terrifying. But, in our reading them, at least we’re not alone.