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Real .... and Unreal


Mateo Askaripour
Black Buck

Mateo Askaripour was a 2018 Rhode Island Writers Colony writer-in-residence. His debut novel, Black Buck, was a New York Times bestseller and a Today Show Book Club pick.  His writing has appeared in Entrepreneur, Lit Hub, Catapult, The Rumpus, Medium, and elsewhere. Mateo lives in Brooklyn, and his favorite pastimes include bingeing music videos and movie trailers, drinking yerba mate, and dancing in his apartment. 

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Lauren Oyler
Fake Accounts

Lauren Oyler’s essays on books and culture have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, London Review of Books, The Guardian, New York magazine’s The Cut, The New Republic, Bookforum, and elsewhere. Her novel Fake Accounts was published to critical acclaim and was a New York Times editors’ choice. Born and raised in West Virginia, she now divides her time between New York and Berlin.

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The world is changing so fast that we often find ourselves asking…could that really happen? Did that really happen? Mateo Askaripour’s novel Black Buck is the story of Buck. Before Buck was the Muhammad Ali of sales, he was Darren: an unambitious twenty-two-year-old living with his mother and working at Starbucks. All that changed with a coffee order from the CEO of NYC’s hottest tech startup, resulting in Darren joining their elite sales team. On his first day Darren realizes he is the only Black person in the company, and when things start to get strange, he reimagines himself as ‘Buck’, a ruthless salesman, unrecognizable to his friends and family.

 In Lauren Oyler’s Fake Accounts, on the eve of Donald Trump's inauguration, a young woman snoops through her boyfriend's phone and makes a startling discovery: he's an anonymous internet conspiracy theorist, and a popular one at that. She's not exactly shocked by the revelation. Actually, she's relieved--he was always a little distant--and she plots to end their floundering relationship while on a trip to the Women's March in DC. But this is only the first in a series of bizarre twists that expose a world whose truths are shaped by online lies.

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