Part of theBlack Like We Never Left
“There’s nothing like a Black man on a mission. No, let me revise that. There’s nothing like a Black salesman on a mission.”
From the opening lines of Black Buck, Mateo Askaripour’s fast-paced debut novel pulls you along behind Darren Vender, a Starbucks barista whose life changes in a split second, so quickly you can barely catch your breath (in the best way). After a chance encounter with Rhett Daniels, the CEO of NYC’s hottest tech startup, Darren joins an elite sales team and transforms himself into Buck, the Muhammed Ali of sales who is suddenly unrecognizable to his friends and family. As the only Black person at the company, Buck must be ruthless and ambitious in a whole new way, and even though money, partying, and fame begin to follow him wherever he goes, more is never enough.
Then tragedy strikes at home, and Buck hatches a plan to help young people of colour infiltrate America’s sales force. It changes everything.
Called “a high wire act full of verve and dark, comic energy” by Colson Whitehead, Black Buck is equal parts satire, thriller, romance, and absurdist fiction, and is a debut novel no one will ever forget. On BookClub, Mateo Askaripour joins Cree Myles’ “Black Like We Never Left” for a look at his novel and how Buck’s story isn’t just a scathing review of racism in America’s workforce, it’s a treatise on ambition, office culture, and why freedom is never free.
Enjoy an immersive experience with original, high-quality videos that pull you into the room—and bring the author’s words to life.
Learn about the author’s inspiration, writing process, and perspective with exclusive, original videos.
Black Like We Never Left host Cree Myles introduces Black Buck and the author, Mateo Askaripour, and the two of them discuss Mateo’s inspiration for and connection to the book, the symbolism that he laced throughout the novel, and why freedom is never free.
Inspiration & Writing Process
Mateo shares his personal experience in the tech world with Cree, and they discuss how he came to be a writer, what it was like writing Black Buck, and why Mateo is still “hungry” when it comes to his writing.
Tone & Character
Cree and Mateo talk about how Black Buck crosses several genres, why it was important to include both microagressions and overt racism in the book, and how Darren’s age influenced how he behaved. Mateo shares personal experiences with racism that inspired moments in the book, and Cree shares some of her own.
Mateo and Cree discuss how Black Buck critiques capitalism, the role presentation plays in the world we live in, and how one moment in the book changed everything.
Cree and Mateo wrap up their conversation by talking about the reception of Black Buck and why the novel both does and doesn’t belong to Mateo now that it’s published. Both Cree and Mateo share their favorite thing about being Black.
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