The sellout

by Beatty, Paul,

Format: Print Book 2015.
Availability: Available at 15 Libraries 15 of 19 copies
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CLP - Downtown and Business First Floor - African American CHECKED OUT
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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

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.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "*Starred Review* Beatty, author of the deservedly highly praised The White Boy Shuffle (1996), here outdoes himself and possibly everybody else in a send-up of race, popular culture, and politics in today's America. From the opening pages, in which the narrator is summoned to appear before the U.S. Supreme Court through a mechanism not unlike Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes, Beatty hits on all cylinders in a darkly funny, dead-on-target, elegantly written satire in the tradition of Ishmael Reed and Percival Everett. The narrator, like his social-psychologist father, is a nigger whisperer, skilled in talking down crazed blacks dangling babies from windows or jumping onto train tracks. He is devoted to restoring the negated agrarian city of Dickens in Southern California, where he was born and raised, and then resegregating it. Also the anthologist of the African American humor compendium Hokum, Beatty, though unable to sustain the intense comic pitch throughout, joins the ranks not only of the contributors to that volume but also of the upper echelon of all American humorists. This is frequently laugh-out-loud funny and, in the way of the great ones, profoundly thought provoking. A major contribution.--Levine, Mark Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "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. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Fathers and sons -- Fiction.
Race relations -- Fiction.
Publisher New York :2015.
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description 288 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN 9780374260507
Other Classic View