Friday Black, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018, 192 pp
This excellent collection of short fiction was the November, 2018, selection of the Nervous Breakdown Book Club. The author is the son of immigrants from Ghana who grew up in a small town just north of Manhattan, a town with a high percentage of African immigrants as well as Black people in general. He is educated and dedicated to literature.
I never know quite how to review short story collections but I do know what appeals to me when I read one. Every story needs to grab me from the first paragraph and each story must be as strong as the strongest one in the book. Friday Black won me over on both counts.
Though the humor and satire found in the book is impeccably done, these are not feel good tales. Dark, edgy, condemning portraits of 21st century America, bold leaps across genre, an imagination that burns through every scene of racism, capitalism, dead souls and human depravity, beat out of each story.
Not hopeless though, not at all. Somehow he taps into the energy and love and audacity that make America the unique conglomeration of dreams and foibles that it is.
This is Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah's first book. He has a novel coming and I can't wait to read it.
(Friday Black is available in paperback by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)