Blackass Background

Blackass Background

Blackass is no doubt an exceptionally complex and unique book. However, it received exceedingly mixed -- and skewed slightly negative -- reviews. Michael Schaub of NPR called the book "audacious" but remarked that "Blackass, [al]though very good in parts, doesn't really work as a novel. Barrett definitely has great ideas and original observations, but it seems like he's tried too hard to force them all into one book. The result is a novel that's not unenjoyable, but one that never really comes together." Helon Habilla of The Guardian felt similarly, saying that some sections of the novel felt "pointless" and "too long." It is certainly a unique and ambitious book, but it will never be remembered as a classic.

Blackass tells the wickedly funny and satirical story of a Nigerian man (born and raised in Lagos) named Furo Wariboko who, in the style of Kafka's Metamorphosis, wakes up one day to discover that he has become white. Now that he is white, Furo discovers that the world has radically transformed for him: he has more opportunities and is able to do many more things in general. There's only one problem (and it's a major one): Furo's hindquarters are still very much black. He must navigate his new life as a privileged white man with a behind that happens to still be black.

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