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Blackass: A Novel
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Graywolf Press 2016
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Furo Wariboko, a young Nigerian, awakes the morning before a job interview to find that he's been transformed into a white man. In this condition he plunges into the bustle of Lagos to make his fortune. With his red hair, green eyes, and pale skin, it seems he's been completely changed. Well, almost. There is the matter of his family, his accent, his name. Oh, and his black ass. Furo must quickly learn to navigate a world made unfamiliar and deal with those who would use him for their own purposes. Taken in by a young woman called Syreeta and pursued by a writer named Igoni, Furo lands his first-ever job, adopts a new name, and soon finds himself evolving in unanticipated ways.
A. Igoni Barrett's Blackass is a fierce comic satire that touches on everything from race to social media while at the same time questioning the values society places on us simply by virtue of the way we look. As he did in Love Is Power, or Something Like That, Barrett brilliantly depicts life in contemporary Nigeria and details the double-dealing and code-switching that are implicit in everyday business. But it's Furo's search for an identity—one deeper than skin—that leads to the final unraveling of his own carefully constructed story.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
03/01/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781555979263
ASIN:
B01BKMMG0S

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Citations

APA Citation (style guide)

A. Igoni Barrett. (2016). Blackass: A Novel. Graywolf Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

A. Igoni Barrett. 2016. Blackass: A Novel. Graywolf Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

A. Igoni Barrett, Blackass: A Novel. Graywolf Press, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

A. Igoni Barrett. Blackass: A Novel. Graywolf Press, 2016.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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Jun 12, 2018 15:17:27
Date Updated:
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fullDescription

Furo Wariboko, a young Nigerian, awakes the morning before a job interview to find that he's been transformed into a white man. In this condition he plunges into the bustle of Lagos to make his fortune. With his red hair, green eyes, and pale skin, it seems he's been completely changed. Well, almost. There is the matter of his family, his accent, his name. Oh, and his black ass. Furo must quickly learn to navigate a world made unfamiliar and deal with those who would use him for their own purposes. Taken in by a young woman called Syreeta and pursued by a writer named Igoni, Furo lands his first-ever job, adopts a new name, and soon finds himself evolving in unanticipated ways.
A. Igoni Barrett's Blackass is a fierce comic satire that touches on everything from race to social media while at the same time questioning the values society places on us simply by virtue of the way we look. As he did in Love Is Power, or Something Like That, Barrett brilliantly depicts life in contemporary Nigeria and details the double-dealing and code-switching that are implicit in everyday business. But it's Furo's search for an identity—one deeper than skin—that leads to the final unraveling of his own carefully constructed story.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: The Root
      • content: "A brilliant vantage point from which to take on racial commentary. It is a necessary conversation. It is timely. . . . Here is an ambitious, sophisticated novel, careful in its construction and secure in its cleverness."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        January 4, 2016
        On the morning of a long-awaited job interview, Furo Wariboko, a black Nigerian, wakes to find that he’s white. Rushing out of the house to avoid being seen, Furo ends up trekking across Lagos’s traffic-choked sprawl, sans phone, money, or an explanation for why he looks white and sounds Nigerian. But as he soon discovers, being an oyibo, or light-skinned person, comes with significant perks. Watching Furo as he shifts from trying to cope with his new circumstances to trying to profit from them is compelling, and Syreeta, who picks Furo up in a mall and invites him to share her sugar daddy–funded apartment, is a memorable character. For Americans unfamiliar with Nigeria, Lagos functions as another character in the book, a fascinating and chaotic megacity populated by people trying to move up in the world—some honestly, some less so. It’s no coincidence that Furo’s new job is selling self-help books. All this would be plenty, but Barrett, initially in the book as a bystander from whom Furo cadges a drink, becomes more central, as he too begins to undergo a transformation. The problem is that this second transformation—complete except for one key detail—feels less organic, more like a literary device. Nevertheless, Barrett’s debut novel is an original take on both metamorphosis and The Metamorphosis.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        January 1, 2016
        A Nigerian man wakes up white in Barrett's (Love Is Power, or Something Like That, 2013) satirical update on Kafka's The Metamorphosis. The morning of a job interview, Furo Wariboko arises to find he's become white overnight, this in a modest section of Lagos where many residents have "never seen red hair, green eyes, or pink nipples except on screen and on paper." Unwilling to face his parents, with whom he lives, he sneaks off to Haba!, a company that sells business books, where he's promptly hired as a marketing executive, despite only applying to become a salesperson. Soon he's living with Syreeta--a suspiciously generous woman who, Furo suspects, knows "the going value of a white man in Lagos"--and conspiring to obtain a new passport, necessary to start work. Barrett is at his best depicting small moments of racial unease: a fraught negotiation with a cab driver who assumes Furo has more money than he does, a back and forth with a clothing salesman that becomes dramatically less strained once it's revealed Furo speaks "pidgin like a trueborn Nigerian." But too often the plot isn't as rich as the premise. Furo's dealings with a writer, conspicuously named Igoni and suffering identity problems of his own, end up distracting from the main story rather than complementing it. A promising twist involving Furo's sister's burgeoning career as a Twitter personality is abandoned too quickly. Most frustrating, Barrett waits until the novel's final third for Furo to begin his new job, a tactical error given the rich opportunities for conflict that emerge once he's there. Still, Barrett's prose is consistently entertaining, and though the ending leaves something to be desired, readers will have plenty of fun getting there. The story doesn't quite live up to its brilliant premise, but readers in search of an incisive observer of contemporary life will find one in Barrett.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        November 1, 2015

        A young Nigerian wakes up white in this Kafkaesque comedy--white, except for his, ahem, ass.

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        February 1, 2016
        One morning, Nigerian Furo Wariboko wakes up as a white man, with one exception. Only his girlfriend sees that his rear end is black (she laughs uproariously). His hair and features, in spite of the idiom in which he speaks, make him unidentifiable as a Nigerian. Despite Kafkaesque elements, this book is not an out-and-out satire. In fact, it is a fairly straightforward story of life in today's Lagos. Indeed, it shows that having white skin is an advantage, even in virtually all-black Nigeria. The opposite, of course, is equally true. Furo, who assumes the name Frank Whyte, takes a job he owes to his new whiteness as, of all things, a book salesman. Flipping the premise of John Howard Griffin's Black like Me (1961), Barrett reaches largely the same conclusions about the pernicious effects of skin color on our perceptions of one another. Following his well-received story collection Love Is Power, or Something Like That (2013), this novel further establishes Nigerian Barrett as an important voice in African fiction.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

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Furo Wariboko, a young Nigerian, awakes the morning before a job interview to find that he's been transformed into a white man. In this condition he plunges into the bustle of Lagos to make his fortune. With his red hair, green eyes, and pale skin, it seems he's been completely changed. Well, almost. There is the matter of his family, his accent, his name. Oh, and his black ass. Furo must quickly learn to navigate a world made unfamiliar and deal with those who would use him for their own purposes. Taken in by a young woman called Syreeta and pursued by a writer named Igoni, Furo lands his first-ever job, adopts a new name, and soon finds himself evolving in unanticipated ways.
A. Igoni Barrett's Blackass is a fierce comic satire that touches on everything from race to social media while at the same time questioning the values society places on us simply by virtue of the way we look. As he did in Love Is Power, or Something Like That, Barrett brilliantly...

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