The Sellout

The Sellout (PB)

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    Winner of the 2016 ALA Notable Books in Fiction
    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
    Nominee for the 2016 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Fiction

    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.

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  • Product Videos

    • Novelist Paul Beatty pokes fun at how we talk about race in America
      Paul Beatty’s new book “The Sellout” offers a satirical skewer...

    Novelist Paul Beatty pokes fun at how we talk about race in America

    Paul Beatty’s new book “The Sellout” offers a satirical skewering of racial politics in America. Jeffrey Brown speaks with the author about not being afraid to say taboo things and the ways the U.S. is still segregated. Read the full transcript:
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    Author: Paul Beatty
    ISBN-10: 0374260508
    Pages: 304
    Publisher: Picador USA
    Publication Date: March 01, 2016
    Binding: Paperback