The Sellout: A Novel by Paul BeattyThe Sellout: A Novel by Paul Beatty

The Sellout: A Novel

byPaul BeattyEditorElizabeth Bruce

Paperback | March 1, 2016

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about

Winner of the Man Booker Prize

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction

Winner of the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature

New York Times Bestseller

Los Angeles Times Bestseller

Named One of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review

Named a Best Book of the Year by Newsweek, The Denver Post, BuzzFeed, Kirkus Reviews, and Publishers Weekly

Named a "Must-Read" by Flavorwire and New York Magazine's "Vulture" Blog

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.

Fueled 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.

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. In 2016, he became the first American to win the Man Booker Prize. He lives in New York City.
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Title:The Sellout: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 8.27 × 5.48 × 0.83 inPublished:March 1, 2016Publisher:PicadorLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1250083257

ISBN - 13:9781250083258

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it Super interesting, you wont be able to put it down
Date published: 2017-06-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not for everyone This is a challenging and thought-provoking book. Though Beatty has stated that he doesn't like the word "satire" when describing his novel, it probably is the best word to describe it. It has funny moments but it mostly made me wince (which I suppose is the point). The book is filled with references from American pop culture and psychology. It's beautifully written with certain areas resembling poetry and others resembling short stories. It's quite literary and I can see why it won many awards. If you enjoy satire, witty, challenging and thought-provoking novels then this is for you. But if not... then you should stay away.
Date published: 2017-04-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from If you enjoy satire Ive tried 3 times to get into this, 1/3 of way through and failed. I do not find it funny, more uncomfortable as satire can be but especially with the current American heaviness, I pass on it.
Date published: 2017-03-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Funny An entertaining book and biting social commentary, but took a while to get in to
Date published: 2017-01-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Outrageous "I sit in a thickly padded chair that, not unlike this country, isn’t quite as comfortable as it looks." I hated this book. I mean, I did initially. The entire first chapter was just too much for me: outrageous and over the top, and I couldn’t yet see it’s purpose. Who does Paul Beatty think he is? This book is ridiculous! After all, this is a story about a black man reinstating slavery to save his home town. I continued reading, however, and then I got angry. When the narrator’s father dies at the hands of the police, I let out the long breath I had been holding. This book is so important and so relevant to what is going in America right now. I’m half black and a very proud Canadian, but I have black relatives living in American that I worry about. Whenever I turn on the news to see a young black man lying dead in the streets I think about my cousin, my uncle. Something must change. While this book is mean to provoke, to engage, to enrage, it also contains moments of clarity and joy. These two quotes made me laugh out loud: "How come there aren’t any African-American mermaids? Because black women hate to get their hair wet." – "I’m so fucking tied of black women always being described by their skin tones! Honey-colored this! Dark-chocolate that! My paternal grandmother was mocha-tinged, café-au-lait, graham-fucking-cracker brown!" There isn’t much I can say about this The Sellout that hasn’t already been said, and it’s incredibly difficult to comment on satire, but this book worked for me. Paul Beatty has an MFA in creative writing and a MA in psychology, and I can feel the depth of his education in these pages. The Sellout is both wildly imaginative and incredibly smart. If you’re struggling to get into this book, try it out on audio! The audio helped me get into it, and I picked up the book shortly after.
Date published: 2016-12-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thought Provoking A witty satire on racial issues in America. Would recommend, although it can be difficult to get through at times.
Date published: 2016-11-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Trickier than reviews lead you to believe This Booker-winning satire is the story is of a black man that re-segregates his neighbourhood near Los Angeles after it is wiped off the map. While other reviews comment on its laugh-out-loud nature, I would say I found the commentary more biting than laugh-or-loud funny. Moments of the book were sharp but on the whole I found it overly long, at points difficult to follow and not terribly cohesive. Perhaps it requires a re-read in the future, but I found this rather hard to get through.
Date published: 2016-11-02

Editorial Reviews

"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"[The Sellout] is among the most important and difficult American novels written in the 21st century . . . It is a bruising novel that readers will likely never forget." -Kiese Laymon, Los Angeles Times"Swiftian satire of the highest order . . . Giddy, scathing and dazzling." -Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal"The Sellout isn't just one of the most hilarious American novels in years, it also might be the first truly great satirical novel of the century . . . [It] is a comic masterpiece, but it's much more than just that-it's one of the smartest and most honest reflections on race and identity in America in a very long time." -Michael Schaub, NPR.org"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 . . . Beatty hits on all cylinders in a darkly funny, dead-on-target, elegantly written satire . . . [The Sellout] is frequently laugh-out-loud funny and, in the way of the great ones, profoundly thought provoking. A major contribution." -Mark Levin, Booklist (starred review)"The Sellout is brilliant. Amazing. Like demented angels wrote it." -Sarah Silverman"I am glad that I read this insane book alone, with no one watching, because I fell apart with envy, hysterics, and flat-out awe. Is there a more fiercely brilliant and scathingly hilarious American novelist than Paul Beatty?" -Ben Marcus"Paul Beatty has always been one of smartest, funniest, gutsiest writers in America, but The Sellout sets a new standard. It's a spectacular explosion of comic daring, cultural provocation, brilliant, hilarious prose, and genuine heart." -Sam Lipsyte