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Man Booker winner, “Sellout” – comic genius!

**WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2016**

A biting satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, Paul Beatty’s The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game.

It challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality—the black Chinese restaurant.

Born in the "agrarian ghetto" of Dickens—on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles—the narrator of The Sellout resigns himself to the fate of lower-middle-class Californians: "I’d die in the same bedroom I’d grown up in, looking up at the cracks in the stucco ceiling that’ve been there since ’68 quake." Raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, he spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. He is led to believe that his father’s pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family’s financial woes. But when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realizes there never was a memoir. All that’s left is the bill for a drive-thru funeral.

Fuelled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town’s most famous resident—the last surviving Little Rascal, Hominy Jenkins—he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.

In his trademark absurdist style, which has the uncanny ability to make readers want to both laugh and cry, The Sellout is an outrageous and outrageously entertaining indictment of our time.

 

From the Reviews:

Yes, it's funny, but not in the LOL way as often as 'that so true it's painful' way. Reading the reviews, I expected to be chuckling every few pages. Instead I had a wry grin every few sentences. Don't let this deter you. The verbs come at the end of sentences so often that you really have to read it at a run if you don't want to lose the thread of what's going on, but I can guarantee the thread is worth catching.

 

“The first 100 pages of [Paul Beatty's] new novel, The Sellout, are the most caustic and the most badass first 100 pages of an American novel I've read in at least a decade. I gave up underlining the killer bits because my arm began to hurt . . . [They] read like the most concussive monologues and interviews of Chris Rock, Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle wrapped in a satirical yet surprisingly delicate literary and historical sensibility . . . The jokes come up through your spleen . . . The riffs don't stop coming in this landmark and deeply aware comic novel . . . [It] puts you down in a place that's miles from where it picked you up.” ―Dwight Garner, The New York Times
About the Author:  Winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize
Winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction
Named one of the best books of 2015 by The New York Times Book Review and the Wall Street Journal
Paul Beatty is the author of three novels―Slumberland, Tuff, and The White Boy Shuffle―and two books of poetry: Big Bank Take Little Bank and Joker, Joker, Deuce. He is the editor of Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor. He lives in New York City.

 

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