**WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2016**
‘Outrageous, hilarious and profound.’ Simon Schama, Financial Times
‘The longer you stare at Beatty’s pages, the smarter you’ll get.’ The Guardian
‘The most badass first 100 pages of an American novel I’ve read.’ The New York Times
A biting satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game.
Born in Dickens on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles, the narrator of The Sellout spent his childhood as the subject in his father's racially charged psychological studies. He is told that his father’s work will lead to a memoir that will solve their financial woes. But when his father is killed in a drive-by shooting, he discovers there never was a memoir. All that’s left is a bill for a drive-through funeral.
What’s more, Dickens has literally been wiped off the map to save California from further embarrassment. Fuelled by despair, the narrator sets out to right this wrong with the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Reading Paul Beatty’s The Sellout made us inspired, angry, and entirely dazzled—all at once. The novel—winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize—tells the intoxicating tale of a narrator known only as “Me,” whom we meet after he’s hauled to court for attempting to re-segregate his suburb of Los Angeles. Beatty’s story is a blistering, uncomfortably hilarious satire that skewers cultural stereotypes and savages 21st-century America. We haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since we finished.
Beatty's satirical latest (after Slumberland) is a droll, biting look at racism in modern America. At the novel's opening, its narrator, a black farmer whose last name is Me, has been hauled before the Supreme Court for keeping a slave and reinstituting racial segregation in Dickens, an inner-city neighborhood in Los Angeles inexplicably zoned for agrarian use. When Dickens is erased from the map by gentrification, Me hatches a modest proposal to bring it back by segregating the local school. While his logic may be skewed, there is a perverse method in his madness; he is aided by Hominy, a former child star from The Little Rascals, who insists that Me take him as his slave. Beatty gleefully catalogues offensive racial stereotypes but also reaches further, questioning what exactly constitutes black identity in America. Wildly funny but deadly serious, Beatty's caper is populated by outrageous caricatures, and its damning social critique carries the day.