A Philip Roth for a New Generation


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. It has that potent admixture of comedy and rage one typically associates with Roth.

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at IanMacAllen.com. More from this author →