Author: Mateo Askaripour
Narrator: Zeno Robinson
Publication Date: January 4, 2021
A New York Times Bestseller
A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick!
“Askaripour closes the deal on the first page of this mesmerizing novel, executing a high wire act full of verve and dark, comic energy.”
—Colson Whitehead, author of The Nickel Boys
“A hilarious, gleaming satire as radiant as its author. Askaripour has announced himself as a major talent of the school of Ralph Ellison, Paul Beatty, Fran Ross, and Ishmael Reed. Full of quick pacing, frenetic energy, absurd—yet spot on—twists and turns, and some of the funniest similes I’ve ever read, this novel is both balm and bomb.”
—Nafissa Thompson-Spires, author of Heads of the Colored People
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.
Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour is an impactful story about a black salesman.
Buck is a smart but unambitious black man working at Starbucks. Rhett Daniels, the CEO of the startup Sumwun, always orders the same drink at Starbucks until Buck convinces him to order something different. Rhett invites Buck to join his sales team. Buck works hard to be the best salesman but his rise to the top comes with conflict. Buck is the only black person at Sumwun so starts a group to help young blacks get jobs at Sumwun and build the skills for other jobs.
I really enjoyed Black Buck. Buck is a great character that works hard to become successful. He also mentors and starts a group to help young blacks get the skills necessary to get better jobs. I enjoyed how hard Buck worked and found it interesting how he changed as he became more successful. This is an interesting portrayal of how people change when they earn more money and success isn’t always a good thing. Black Buck discusses important race issues. Buck was never accepted by some of his coworkers and used as the face of diversity when it was helpful to his company. Black Buck is a great story which does a great job of portraying race issues.
I listened to the audiobook narrated by Zeno Robinson and thought he did an excellent job. Zeno was the perfect voice for Buck. Some of the language was difficult to hear in audio but how much I enjoyed the rest of the narration made up for that.
Thank you Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Blackstone Publishing, Libro.fm and NetGalley for Black Buck.
About the Author
MATEO ASKARIPOUR was a 2018 Rhode Island Writers Colony writer-in-residence, and his writing has appeared in Entrepreneur, Lit Hub, Catapult, The Rumpus, Medium, and elsewhere. He lives in Brooklyn, and his favorite pastimes include bingeing music videos and movie trailers, drinking yerba mate, and dancing in his apartment. Black Buck is his debut novel.