The Sellout

By Paul Beatty,

Book cover of The Sellout

Book description

A Book of the Decade, 2010-2020 (Independent)

'Outrageous, hilarious and profound.' Simon Schama, Financial Times
'The longer you stare at Beatty's pages, the smarter you'll get.' Guardian
'The most badass first 100 pages of an American novel I've read.' New York Times

A biting satire about a young man's isolated…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked The Sellout as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I like books that invite us to face up to uncomfortable truths. And I love books that do this with satire and humor.

This book is a beautifully written, absurdist commentary on American racism. The novel’s hilarious and absurd plot and its unreliable narrator open big windows to the realities of life in a society that so often chooses to deny, rather than to examine, the many ways in which racism fractures, lacerates and scars.

The humor of The Sellout is smart, nonstop, dark, and painful. The author is direct and ruthless as he revels in the high price a…

If I had to use one word to describe The Sellout, it would be “charged”. 

The Sellout tells the story of a young black man who lost his father to a police shooting. As he attempts to cope with this new reality, his hometown is gradually fading into oblivion. To salvage what’s left of it, he decides on the craziest plan: reinstating slavery. An action that will drag our protagonist to the Supreme Court’s doorsteps.

Unconventional and wild, The Sellout is one of the best social commentaries on America’s racial issues you’ll ever read. I guarantee it, I stand…

From Andre's list on highly political satirical.

I grew up in the United States and lived there until I was 21, and like many people my age, I was brainwashed into believing that because slavery ended in 1865, and because the civil rights movement of the 1960s successfully advanced the rights of Black people, that the issue of racism in America was mostly resolved. I know I know – this is remarkably ignorant, and yet this narrative is also the one driving conservatives who are actively eroding Black voting rights, blocking meaningful criminal justice reform, banning books about racism, opposing the establishment of a social safety net,…

From Devorah's list on satire that makes you laugh and cry.

The Sellout is a satirical treatise on the lengths humans will go to reject, deny, or literally erase, injustice. It skewers any pretense of a post-racial America, telling the story of a small town in California that brings back segregation and slavery. The outlandish uproar that ensues reveals the deep division that persists in America and the discomfort in addressing it. 

From Strobe's list on reminders that we are all idiots.

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