📖: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s Friday Black (2018)
🍸: bubble jacket
Why this book?
Today is Black Friday, and if there’s only one book you buy today, it should be Friday Black. This is one of the most daring and moving short story collections I have read.
Reading Adjei-Brenyah’s collection is like walking through a funhouse full of mirrors where you might feel amused, surprised, confused, then terrified. He uses satire, dark humor, dystopia, magical realism, and sci-fi to distort the details of our reality to reflect the gruesome racist and capitalist systems that shape it.
Each surreal story has sharp observations of human behavior and motivations, which kept me hooked throughout the book. There are tales about a world where genetically modified children are raised, a girl who lives in a time loop with nuclear explosions, and a West World-like theme park where people can pay to commit racial crimes on actors. Topic-wise, it’s not a light read, but I raced through the entire book because I was so captivated by the writer’s craft and creativity. I cannot wait to see what Adjei-Brenyah publishes next!
Why this drink?
I’m pairing this book with a spiked brown sugar boba tea recipe as a reference to the titular story, in which Black Friday shoppers trample over each other to buy branded jackets — a too-real depiction of the destructive side of consumerism.
🛒📚 Speaking of shopping…if you are buying books this weekend, check out my newly launched Bookshop page at bookshop.org/shop/mixaphoria (link in bio), where you can support independent bookstores AND get FREE SHIPPING through Cyber Monday, 11/30. I curated my lists based on cocktail flavor profile and moods, so you can pick out your next read based on your drink preferences 🤓 Happy weekend 🥂
1 oz black spiced rum
1 cup strongly brewed black tea
milk, to taste
1/3 cup store-bought boba pearls
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
- cook boba pearls based on packaging instructions.
- in a separate small pot, bring sugar and water to a boil. add boba, and let the mixture simmer over low heat, until it turns into a thick syrup.
- in your glass, add the pearls, then ice, rum, tea, and as much milk as you’d like. stir well and serve with a straw.
Another round, please! 🥂
You might also like:
Charles Yu’s Sorry Please Thank You (2012)
Finished the book? What did you think about it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
And check out these reviews to learn more about the book:
- ‘Friday Black’ Paints a Dark Portrait of Race in America, by Tommy Orange, New York Times, Oct. 23, 2018
- ‘Friday Black’ Uses Fantasy and Blistering Satire to Skewer Racism and Consumer Culture, by Alexandra Alter, New York Times, Oct. 19, 2018