Sellout: A Novel, The

Paul Beatty
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.


Reviewed: 2019-01-12
Reviewed: 2017-07-04

I don't think I would be able to summarise how I feel about the book. To start, it is a good piece of satire; very artfully done to unravel the nuances, problems and intricacies embedded within and faced by the Black community in the contemporary United States. The book takes an interesting examination of regression in that creates it to a semblance of historical authenticity, while at the same aligning it with more modern conditions of the Black community. 

At most points, I enjoyed the book a lot, while at others, some references do go over my head due to a lack of familiarity with the intricacies of another culture. Nevertheless, I think this book worth the Man Booker Prize for its depth, layers and writing. 

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