Paul Beatty The Sellout

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Inhaltsangabe zu „The Sellout“ von Paul Beatty

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction 2016 Shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Award 2016 A biting satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. Born in the 'agrarian ghetto' of Dickens on the outskirts of Los Angeles and raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, the narrator of The Sellout spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. He was 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 wiped off 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. In his trademark absurdist style, which has the uncanny ability to make readers want to both laugh and cry, The Sellout is an outrageous and outrageously entertaining indictment of our time.

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  • Paul Beatty - The Sellout

    The Sellout
    miss_mesmerized

    miss_mesmerized

    19. September 2016 um 20:49

    A man is in Washington, waiting for his trial before the Supreme Court. He has never done anything wrong so why is there a case of the United States of America vs. himself? The narrator has to go back to his childhood days when he, the son of a black psychologist, was his father’s prime study object. His isolated upbringing always against the background of racial hated has left its marks and when is father is shot and he is faced with the police’s lack of interest, he understands that he has to do something for Dickens, his hometown which has vanished from the maps, and for his father’s memoir. A fight for equality and to find out who is really is and who he wants to be starts.Paul Beatty’s novel has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016 and it is obvious why it has been nominated. At the end of two terms of a black president, the country has to raise the question if anything has changed in the last eight years. Considering the last months’ riots and street fights in many cities between the police and the black community, the answer might be “no” – or even: things are worse today. Thus, Beatty has chosen his topic well, it could not fit more to the current debate. But apart from its societal relevance, what does the novel have to offer?First of all, the irony is just captivating. The best example for me is the search for a sister city when Juárez, Chernobyl and Kinshasa refuse to be linked to Dickens due to diverse reasons. You have to laugh until the laughter gets stuck to your throat because you understand what has been said about this black town in this scene. Its situation close to the LA metropolis is worse than the most violent city in Norther America, worse than the most polluted and dead place in Europe and worse than the poorest town in Africa. Is there anything to top this? Yes, of course there is – and that’s what makes this novel so outstanding. The narrator invents an upside-down version of segregation and has the white pupils expulsed from the local schools. This reminds you of something in history? Yes, but now things are different. Or not so different at all. The absurdity sharpens the observer’s view on the current state this small town is in.At times, Beatty has his narrator reflect on what he is doing and what is happening and he comes to very sharp conclusions on why things are the way they are and why people just cannot act differently. This sounds quite serious, that’s what it is at the end of the day, but Beatty found a unique style ignoring all taboos to bring across his message.

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