L.A. Times Review: Is ‘Black Buck’ the first racial satire that’s also self-help?

Mateo Askaripour’s debut novel, “Black Buck,” release date is January 5, 2021 (Andrew “Fifthgod” Askaripour)

Mateo Askaripour is not trying to be divisive when he says his debut novel, “Black Buck,” was written just for Black readers, though white readers are welcome to “come along for the ride.” And he isn’t being flippant when he says he hopes his tale of a Black man swept up in startup mania can teach his readers how to succeed in sales.

The book’s 20-something narrator, Darren, graduated as valedictorian from one of New York’s top high schools, only to tamp down his ambitions. He’s been playing it safe in Brooklyn, contenting himself with his Ma, his girlfriend and a modest managerial job at Starbucks. Then he is seduced into the world of sales — hired to persuade corporations to enlist in emotional and spiritual support services from a shiny new startup called Sumwun… more

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