Black Buck

Mateo Askaripour
For fans of Sorry to Bother You and The Wolf of Wall Street—a crackling, satirical debut novel about a young man given a shot at stardom as the lone Black salesman at a mysterious, cult-like, and wildly successful startup where nothing is as it seems. There’s nothing like a Black salesman on a mission. An unambitious twenty-two-year-old, Darren lives in a Bed-Stuy brownstone with his mother, who wants nothing more than to see him live up to his potential as the valedictorian of Bronx Science. But Darren is content working at Starbucks in the lobby of a Midtown office building, hanging out with his girlfriend, Soraya, and eating his mother’s home-cooked meals. All that changes when a chance encounter with Rhett Daniels, the silver-tongued CEO of Sumwun, NYC’s hottest tech startup, results in an exclusive invitation for Darren to join an elite sales team on the thirty-sixth floor. After enduring a “hell week” of training, Darren, the only Black person in the company, reimagines himself as “Buck,” a ruthless salesman unrecognizable to his friends and family. But when things turn tragic at home and Buck feels he’s hit rock bottom, he begins to hatch a plan to help young people of color infiltrate America’s sales force, setting off a chain of events that forever changes the game. Black Buck is a hilarious, razor-sharp skewering of America’s workforce; it is a propulsive, crackling debut that explores ambition and race, and makes way for a necessary new vision of the American dream.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2021-04-08

Black Buck follows the story of Darren Vender, an unambitious twenty-two-year-old, Darren lives in a Bed-Stuy brownstone with his mother. He’s happy with his Mom, his long term girlfriend, Soraya, his best friend Jason, and Mr. Rawlings, the man who’s lived on the first floor of his house since before he was born. Darren is even content with just being a shift manager at Starbucks. But his Mom wants nothing more than for Darren to live up to his potential. So when Rhett Daniels, the CEO of Sumwun, New York’s newest tech startup, invites Darren to join the elite team on the thirty-sixth floor, Darren agrees.

 

Quickly finding out he’s the only Black person in the company and after enduring a “hell week” of training, Darren gets the new name “Buck”, and turns himself into an impressive salesman who becomes unrecognizable to his friends and family. But after a tragic event back home, Buck feels like he hit rock bottom and he begins to make plans to help young people of color make their way into the sales force and it forever changes the game.

 

This is Mateo Askaripour’s debut novel and what a talent he is! He definitely takes you on a journey that is wild and crazy. This book deals with a lot, the narrator, Buck, puts it all out on the table for the readers to read and experience: racism, gentrification, white privilege, classism, etc.

 

The story is told with small “notes” from Buck, who is talking to you from a later time. The little notes really make the novel unique and sometimes even funny. There are many characters and many events that keep the story going and growing. You know it’s all somehow going to blow up, because there are so many ways it could, but how it does is the shock.

 

This book was not what I expected at all and for that I am glad. I will for sure be keeping Mateo Askaripour on my radar for anything he releases in the future.

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@ahelms completed #blackbuck... on 2021-01-05
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@ahelms began #blackbuck... on 2021-01-01