A NovelBook - 2019
One of NPR's Best Books of the Year
" Black Card holds many modes and many moods in its packed and tactile narrative. Chris L. Terry has managed to capture, all at once, the complications of being black, being young, and being in love. This is a detailed ride about finding one's way to the inside, and finding that the inside isn't all you thought it would be. This book is a mirror, inside of which I saw so many selves." --Hanif Abdurraqib, author of They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us and Go Ahead in the Rain
Chris L. Terry's Black Card is an uncompromising examination of American identity. In an effort to be "black enough," a mixed-race punk rock musician indulges his own stereotypical views of African American life by doing what his white bandmates call "black stuff." After remaining silent during a racist incident, the unnamed narrator has his Black Card revoked by Lucius, his guide through Richmond, Virginia, where Confederate flags and memorials are a part of everyday life.
Determined to win back his Black Card, the narrator sings rap songs at an all-white country music karaoke night, absorbs black pop culture, and attempts to date his black coworker Mona, who is attacked one night. The narrator becomes the prime suspect and earns the attention of John Donahue, a local police officer with a grudge dating back to high school. Forced to face his past, his relationships with his black father and white mother, and the real consequences and dangers of being black in America, the narrator must choose who he is before the world decides for him.