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Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour
Literary fiction

Black Buck

Debut

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Mateo Askaripour, on your first book!

by Mateo Askaripour

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Quick take

Tired of binging The Office? Here's your new workplace satire starring a salesman trying to beat the corporate system.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SocialIssues

    Social issues

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LOL

    LOL

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Snarky

    Snarky

Synopsis

An unambitious 22 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.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Black Buck.
Black Buck

I.

Prospecting

In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity. —Albert Einstein

The day that changed my life was like every other day before it, except that it changed my life. I suppose that makes it as important as a birthday, wedding, or bankruptcy, which is why I celebrate the twentieth of May every year like it’s my birthday.

Why the hell not?

As with any other day, my alarm went off at 6:15 a.m. The buzzing interrupted an unremarkable dream that left me with morning wood. But instead of rubbing one out, I kissed my photo of my girlfriend, Soraya; straightened my leaning tower of books; said good morning to my posters of Scarface, The Godfather, and Denzel as Malcolm X, and stood in front of my mirror, taking stock of the person staring back at me.

I didn’t know it back then, but I was, and am, an attractive Black man. At six two, I’m taller than average, and my skin, comparable to the rich caramel of a Werther’s Original, thanks to my pops, is so smooth you wouldn’t believe it’s not butter. My teeth are status quo and powerful, also known as white and straight, and my hair is naturally wavy even though I usually keep it short with a tight fade. Goddamn! The kid looked good and he didn’t even know it. I took a deep breath, hopped in the shower, and began my morning routine.

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Why I love it

Black Buck is my favorite type of book: a surprise, a fresh gift. It is one that upon reading the summary on the back, I thought, a storyline centering around a sales startup in New York City? This is not for me. But as I began reading (the brilliant!!) Mateo Askaripour’s debut novel, I found myself obsessed with the page-turner.

Written in a fresh and unique literary voice, the book is a satirical “how-to” for becoming a salesman that tells the story of 22-year-old Bed-Stuy resident Darren. Plucked from his happy life as a Starbucks manager after an encounter with a tech executive, Darren finds himself the only Black salesman at an eccentric (READ: bizarre!) tech start-up. Soon, Darren takes on a new persona as a ferocious salesman under his company-given nickname, “Buck.” When tragedy strikes at home, Darren develops a new plan to help young people of color break down the barriers of the sales world.

Black Buck is raw and intimate—and a title I knew our book club readers needed to read as we begin this new year with a fresh start. Alternating moments of satirical humor with heartbreaking realities, this is a book that will have readers both laughing and crying. Askaripour’s compelling debut novel is thoroughly entertaining while addressing relevant themes: of race, ambition, and family. Let’s kick off this new year together rallying around Mateo Askaripour and his thrilling story that is strikingly vibrant and refreshing—leaving the reader wanting more!

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Member ratings (3,692)

  • Jenna L.

    Woodbridge, VA

    I experienced every emotion while reading this. The writing is fast-paced, and the commentary regarding race & microaggressions is relevant. The biting humor and raw earnestness make this ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • John T.

    New York, NY

    Its so easy to say this book is just “satire,” but it is the most raw, honest, funny, heartbreaking, & infuriating look into race, class & the glamorized startup world I’ve ever read. READ THIS BOOK.

  • Jamie L.

    Lexington, SC

    A remarkable debut, and though it gets heavy at times, it’s one that I thoroughly enjoyed. Even though it’s classified as satire, I can say it captured what it’s like to be Black in corporate America.

  • Lakyn H.

    Pittsburgh, PA

    This book definitely gave me those “wolf of wall-street” vibes. The storyline moved quick and although Buck’s poor choices frustrates me, i appreciated his overall character development throughout.

  • Allie L.

    Walhalla, SC

    Aspiring writers should use ‘Buck’ as a benchmark of quality in a debut. Aspiring decent humans should use it as a guide to action & reaction to opportunity...& to crappy humans’ barbaric behaviors

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