Posts Tagged: The Sellout

Unstuck in Time

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Despite its uncanny salience in the context of this most recent wave of social injustice and protest, Paul Beatty’s The Sellout was written well before the #BlackLivesMatter movement began. Far from a coincidence, the book’s resonance is a product of the same paradox of time it describes, in which dated social conditions cannot possibly continue to exist, yet do:

All of the characters, regardless of how completely absurd they seem, are reacting to living in a time in which Beatty also resides; one in which he is daring to call something “‘Racism’ in a post-racial world.”

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A Philip Roth for a New Generation

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Superficially, Philip Roth and Paul Beatty might appear as polar opposites. But over at Forward, Hannah Assouline argues that Beatty could be Roth’s literary heir. Assouline calls Beatty’s latest novel, The Sellout, a “generation’s answer to Roth,” and compares the novel to Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint:

“The Sellout” — which concerns a California sociologist’s son brought before the Supreme Court for attempting to reinstitute slavery and segregation — is both a raucous satire and a deadly serious meditation on what we do and don’t talk about when we talk about race in America.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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Chalk it up to a week where Twitter just felt like too much. Chalk it up to good ol’ nostalgia for the feel of a hefty book in your hands. Or maybe, just chalk it up to an aligning of stars that placed nine exceptional writers under the same roof.

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Novelist Brings Slavery to California

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In an interview with NPR, novelist and funnyman Paul Beatty discusses his novel The Sellout, and what’s on his mind when creating a world where plantation culture is reborn in California. The novel focuses on Bonbon, an African American man who reacts to the accidental shooting of his father by the LAPD by re-segregating his hometown and taking on a personal slave—an elderly man famous for his role in Little Rascals.

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