“A fast-paced, virulent character-study, this reads like a tornado in a silo, the spiral winding ever-tighter and busting to get free.
Darren “Buck” Vender is a protagonist you’ll like, distrust, understand, dislike, and empathize with all within the span of a few pages. Through Darren’s life in New York City, this book skillfully skewers startup culture, racial inequality, workplace hostility, and systemic racism, experiencing each of these alongside love, loss, and loyalty to the neighborhood and people who raised him. In many ways, likening it to a Black “Wolf of Wall Street” is apt: the debauchery, the sexism, the psychological abuse, the egotism, the loss of self; it is also too narrow. Darren’s story is more complicated, his trajectory more (and less) nuanced; this is bigger than becoming the Wolf.”
CW: psychological abuse, racist epithets
An unambitious twenty-two-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.
Black Buck is a hilarious, razor-sharp skewering of America’s workforce; it is a propulsive, crackling debut that explores ambition and race, and makes way for a necessary new vision of the American dream.