The Sellout

The Sellout

Book - 2015
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Comments (19)


m
mmontserrat
Sep 02, 2017

You have to get a copy of this book and read it NOW! The Sellout is by far and away the BEST book I've read all year. Paul Beatty is brutally funny; I had to read this almost straight through and there were many times that I'm sure the neighbors thought I was nuts, I was laughing out loud and long.

b
Blue_18
Aug 10, 2017

Wow. Did you guys get the same book I did? The cover looks the same but I'm fighting my way through the Prologue (which is 24 pages long) and it's like sitting in Latin class in high school. I'd rather be anywhere but here.

w
WolfPine
May 31, 2017

Brilliant! Prose that crackles, metaphors that'll blow your head off, a story that spirals like a wobbling top. What Hunter Thompson did for drugs and DFW did for America's obsession with amusement, Beatty does for race--in the most unusual of ways. Read this book! Howl away!

Chapel_Hill_KrystalB May 08, 2017

I was ready to love this one but alas... I found the premise intriguing but the characters flat, despite how truly interesting they are. With that being said, there is no denying that Beatty is a skilled (and humorous) writer, and I recognize that this title will surely spark some good conversations about racism. So while it was not for me, I do appreciate it.

An African-American farmer in southwest Los Angeles County decides to put his town back on the map with the help of his slave, who was one the lesser known Little Rascals. Open a 7-ounce bottle of Coke, peel a Satsuma and take a seat on Marpessa's #125 bus for this wild takedown on racism. Head-shakingly wry and laugh-out-loud funny. Winner of the Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

m
mclarjh
Apr 23, 2017

Terrific writing. A gag a minute. An important topic, of course. The story and characters are thin though.

kmscows Mar 05, 2017

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is well written and witty. I laughed out loud and shook my head throughout "The Sellout." Beatty's prose is poetic at times.

r
robsuka
Jan 30, 2017

how adorable

l
lukasevansherman
Jan 22, 2017

"They say 'pimpin' ain't easy.' Well, neither is slaveholdin'. Like children, dogs, dice, and overpromising politicians, and apparently prostitutes, slaves don't do what you tell them to do."-Paul Beatty, "The Sellout"
One of 2016's most acclaimed and provocative books, Paul Beatty's novel "The Sellout" won the Booker and a spot on the NYT Book Review's 10 best books of the year list. Set in the L.A. suburb of Dickens, "The Sellout" is a darkly funny satire of race, racism, and the myth of the post-racial dream of the Obama era. It's a book in which the unnamed narrator tries to re-segrregate schools and bring back slavery. One review below called it a minstrel show, which I don't think is fair. Beatty is self-consciously embracing certain cliches and stereotypes about race and black Americans only to demolish them. Despite its ambition and distinctive, sardonic voice, there was something about it that I found a little hard to get into, which I can't quite put my finger on. Still, I'd recommend this to anyone interested in satire and race relations. I'd also suggest watching Spike Lee's problematic, but fascinating "Bamboozled" for a similar satire of race and racism.

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blcwrites
Dec 25, 2016

This book needs six stars to do it justice. Reading first The Sympathizer and now this, getting a rich education in novel form is a fine way to learn.

j
jimg2000
Dec 08, 2016

Agree with all the comments that it is a dense and original satire on current state of race relations based on an African American living in an isolated LA enclave (near West Inglewood? Mexican & African American residents, near surfing beaches, El Segundo, west end of Rosecrans Ave. and Manhattan Beach were cited often) decided to segregate his neighborhood and wound up sued by his diseased father's intellectual peer all the way to the Supreme Court as a "sellout." Loaded with humor and as commented by "staciegrant," highly quotable. My only gripe was some of the sentences were lengthy and crammed with litany of racial surveillance that took effort to digest thoroughly. However, not unlike the style (less the slang) in "The Sympathizer," winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

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jr3083
Dec 08, 2016

I spent the first half of this Booker-Prize winning book being angry at its American swagger, showoffiness and shoutiness. It was almost exactly half-way through that I started laughing, and then found myself chuckling away at various points to the end. I don’t read a lot of satire, and it’s a rather wicked pleasure when I do.

The un-named narrator, living in a post-Obama time, is African American and lives in Dickens, a lower-middle-class suburb on the outskirts of Los Angeles. His home-schooled upbringing had been unconventional and overseen by his sociologist father who seemed determined to visit on his son all the most ethically-controversial psycho-social laboratory experiments of the twentieth century. After his father’s death, the narrator drifts into his father’s circle of old, idle chatterboxes who he dubs “The Dum Dum Donut Intellectuals” and tries to hook up with an old flame. It is while he is wooing his bus-driving love-interest Marpessa that he jokingly starts off re-segregation on her bus (yes, re-segregation, not de-segregation) and, discouraged by the neglect of Dickens as a suburb, initiates a broader grass-roots program of resegregation throughout the suburb that actually works. School results improve, crime declines, civic pride burgeons – all because of a self-imposed segregation.

It’s all very slick and clever and the book would probably easily reward a second reading. The blurb on the back describes it as “a powerful novel of vital import and an outrageous and outrageously entertaining indictment of our time”. Which is probably true. But I still think that it’s better recognized under the New York Times Book Review (as it was) than as winner of the Booker Prize.

See the rest of this review at:
https://residentjudge.wordpress.com/2016/12/08/the-sellout-by-paul-beatty/

s
staciegrant
Nov 30, 2016

There are quotable lines on every other page. Wise and well written, it's a thought provoking farce that stays with you long after you finish.

e
efirschein
Nov 24, 2016

kind of a minstrel act, enabling whites to laugh at Negroes . so many whites find this amusing, and consistent with their prejudices.

e
EmilyEm
Nov 05, 2016

A young man copes with life in Dickens, California. I always look forward to the Man Booker winners and have heard the engaging author interviewed.

Imaginative biting satire, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, a little stream of conscious in this one for me plus this older woman was turned off by the language characters use. Probably authentic, but may limit the audience.

r
rebmartin31
Jun 01, 2016

One of the most mind-blowing (and hilarious) pieces of prose fiction I've come across--though it actually reads like spoken word poetry. Probably the best book published in 2015, and certainly one of my favorite books of this year, 2016.

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MarkMatsuzaki
Aug 02, 2015

Really wild and funny. Paul Beatty's prose is incredibly readable and engaging.

k
kozemchuk
Jul 11, 2015

Frenetic, profane, absurd, and hilarious. One of the best books I've read this year. Highly recommended.

The less you know about this biting, humorous novel going into it, the more delight and shock await you. Tackles race, class, the constitution and saving a dying town. Our narrator lands in front of the Supreme Court, where, explaining his crime, he says “I’ve whispered ‘Racism’ in a post-racial world.” The Wall Street Journal said it’s “swiftian satire of the highest order … Giddy, scathing and dazzling.” How can you resist? You can’t.


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