The Sellout  by Paul Beatty


The Sellout is a brilliant black comedy.

About the least funny thing in the US at present is the state of race relations. And this is what Beatty chooses to write a comic novel about, with astounding success. Twisted genius! His black narrator takes a black slave, for starters, and sets about re-segregating his beloved "agrarian ghetto". In modern LA! There's method in his madness, though. He may end up in the Supreme Court, but he is an unstoppable, unforgettable character in the same company as Ignatius T Reilly, Oscar Wao, or Holden Caulfield. Lovably subversive. Should I be laughing at this? You will ask yourself that less often as you read on, because that question becomes secondary to the many others provoked by this feisty shakedown of cultural assumptions. An equally valid reflection on this wonderfully absurd journey may be - what would you do for hand-reared watermelon and weed?

The angry humour itself is unremitting and non-discriminatory. Beatty spares no segment of modern America in this caustic, electric satire.

- Paul